www.baltimoresun.com/news/breaking/bs-bz-mortgage-fraud-sentencing-20120514,0,5801796.story

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Mortgage fraud scheme nets 29-month sentence for D.C. woman

Metro Dream Homes took in $78 million, broke promises of mortgage payoffs

By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun

5:44 PM EDT, May 14, 2012

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A federal judge in Maryland sentenced a Washington woman to 29 months in prison Monday for her role in what prosecutors called a "massive mortgage fraud scheme" — one that ensnared more than 1,000 victims and took in $78 million.

Carole Nelson, 53, was chief financial officer of the Metro Dream Homes' POS Dream Homes arm, which promised to pay off investors' home mortgages in five to seven years in exchange for an upfront investment of at least $50,000. Metro Dream Homes officials said they would use the cash to fund business ventures such as electronic kiosks, prosecutors said.

Instead, it was a Ponzi scheme, with early investors' mortgages paid using later investors' money, according to the Maryland U.S. attorney's office. Company officials also enriched themselves, the office said, leaving the homeowners high and dry.

Nelson never saw evidence of revenue from the investments, prosecutors said. She was paid more than $410,000 in her 20 months of Metro Dream Homes employment, according to the Maryland U.S. attorney's office.

Prosecutors said Nelson is the fifth and final defendant to be sentenced in the scheme. U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus ordered the defendants to collectively pay $34.3 million in restitution, prosecutors said.

jhopkins@baltsun.com

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