By Ashli Sims, The News On 6
COWETA, OK -- A mortgage scam involving 40 area homes and more than $11 million mean two area builders and two mortgage brokers are facing federal fraud charges. Federal prosecutors say the defendants lied about the cost of homes and homebuyers' incomes and pocketed millions.
Houses only a couple of years old are overgrown with neglect. For sale signs are popping up throughout the neighborhood. It might just be signs of a slow economy, but federal prosecutors say something deeper has taken up residence in a Coweta subdivision.
Builders Gerald Snow, Senior and his son, Jerry Snow, and mortgage brokers Gaile Cates and Ayo Olaniyan are facing federal conspiracy to commit fraud charges.
"To them this is their brand new home. Scammed or hoodwinked by someone you believe you could trust in," said an anonymous homebuyer.
She didn't want to show her face because she's involved in a legal dispute with the builder.
Prosecutors say in the indictment that the Snows were selling homebuyers deals that were too good to be true, offering to pay down payments, closing costs and even giving them cash back or paying off their debt.
Prosecutors say the Snows paid for the perks by lying to lenders about the price of these homes.
The indictment says in November of 2004, they told the buyer one house cost $215,000, but listed $315,000 on the loan papers. It goes on to say that in May of 2005, a buyer agreed to pay $246,000 for a home when the price was $308,000 on loan documents.
Prosecutors say not only did they inflate the cost of homes, but they also inflated their clients' bank accounts, giving one homebuyer a check for $8,000 so he could qualify for a bigger loan.
One homeowner says she found out she had second mortgage she didn't even know about. She's relying on her faith to keep her in her home and says she bears no ill will to the builders or the brokers.
"Seemed like a very nice young man. I wish he hadn't done what he did," said the anonymous homeowner.
The News On 6 attempted to contact the attorneys representing the Snows.
Jerry Snow's attorney said he had no comment.