Nearly 500 people have been arrested in a U.S.-wide crackdown on mortgage fraud since the operation began March 1. Federal officials found that Las Vegas was one of the major centres where scams were situated to falsley inflate house prices.
"I heard this many times," said Scott Hunter, a Las Vegas FBI agent who has interviewed hundreds of people lured into buying homes by crooked real estate agents, brokers and loan officers, to the Associated Press. "They said, 'Don't let your good credit go to waste. You can purchase these properties. This is how you acquire wealth.'
And when the party stopped and they were not able to keep inflating the prices on these houses, the whole thing collapsed."
Daniel Bogden, Nevada's U.S. attorney, said 123 defendants were charged, convicted or sentence within his state since the crackdown, named Operation Stolen Dreams, began. According to AP, Bogden estimated the losses in Nevada at almost $250 million.