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41 Charged in Chicago Real Estate Scams

CHICAGO (CN) - Four companies and 37 people finagled millions of dollars from lenders through mortgage schemes that ranged from high-rises and sprawling homes in affluent suburbs to dilapidated shanties in urban areas to lure buyers, federal prosecutors said. Among those indicted are the vice president of a title company, mortgage brokers, loan officers, real estate investors, appraiser, and an attorney. The cases involve more than $48 million in allegedly fraudulent mortgages.

Richard Lisnek, 56, a mortgage broker and president of K&L Real Estate, and his wife Judy Kien, 50, an attorney and president of D&J Properties, both of Buffalo Grove, along with 13 others and 2 other companies lied to lenders about buyers' financial status, prosecutors say.

According to the indictment:

Lisnek used Alfredo Hilado, 50, and Mark Vargo, 53, to solicit people with good credit to buy rundown properties by promising to make the mortgage payments until the property was renovated, then to help find tenants under the Section 8 Housing Program.

After external repairs made the houses "camera ready," real estate appraisers James Heiland, 63, Brandon Bradford, 37, and Vlad Ostromogilsky, 38, drew up inflated appraisals knowing that they misrepresented the actual improvement costs on the houses.

Alex Bulmash, 32, of Lincolnwood, president of Investment Group, had his employees make up loan applications reflecting the false information on behalf of the buyers.

Lynn Liskiewicz, 48, of Chicago, vice president and regional manager of LaSalle Title Co., created closing documents with the bogus information.

The buyers' down payments were actually provided by the sellers.

A second indictment alleges that between July 2004 and December 2006, Mhde (sic) Askar, 23, of Chicago, and Mahmoud Saleh, 35, of Hinsdale, operators of M&M Millennium Management, participated in a developer's incentive program in which they would receive a rebate of up to three years of mortgage payments if they sold their unit within three years.

Askar, Mahmoud, and others allegedly received more than $17.2 million in loans under Askar's name or the names of nominee buyers for fake purchases of the Millennium units.

After the units were sold, Askar and Mahmoud got the rebates and then resold the units at increased prices to buyers through fake mortgages, according to the indictment.

The grand jury returned three other indictments involving similar, Chicagoland area real-estate scams.


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