Biggest Mortgage Mod Scam Ever, Feds Say

MANHATTAN (CN) - Three men were arrested and charged in what federal prosecutors said was the largest mortgage modification scam ever - taking $18.5 million from 8,000 homeowners in all 50 states.
     Ped Abghari aka Ted Allen, 37, and Dionysius Fiumano, 43, were arrested Thursday in Irvine, Calif.; Justin Romano, 40, was arrested that day in Blue Point, N.Y.
     The Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program announced the arrests.
     SIGTARP's inspector general said the men took piles of money in upfront fees "for which no meaningful work was ever done."
     Abghari and Fiumano ran a telemarketing scheme out of California and Romano claimed to be the president of two law firms supposedly based in New York, the inspector general said. Working with Romano, "the defendants obtained over $18.5 million from more than 8,000 victim-homeowners throughout the United States," according to the SIGTARP statement.
     Each man is charged with wire fraud and conspiracy. Each charge is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.