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3 Convicted In $78M Mortgage Scheme

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GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say three people have been convicted in a mortgage scheme that defrauded more than 1,000 investors of $78 million.

A federal jury in Greenbelt on Friday convicted Michael Hickson, 48, of Commack, N.Y., Isaac Jerome Smith, 48, of Spotsylvania, Va., and Alvita Karen Gunn, 33, of Hanover, Md., of fraud conspiracy and wire fraud. They will be sentenced in June and July.

According to testimony in the six-week trial, the three and Laurel, Md.-based Metro Dream Homes tricked homeowners into pouring money into the business with the promise that the revenue would be used to pay off their mortgages. The scheme ran from 2005 until October 2007, authorities said.

Prosecutors say the three used investor funds to employ chauffeurs for a fleet of luxury cars, and paid off early investors as part of a Ponzi scheme.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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