DETROIT (WWJ) — Sixteen people, including two from Michigan, have been charged in a nationwide telemarketing scheme that involved thousands of homes in Detroit.
The fraudulent telemarketing scheme has bilked more than $20 million from victims. Call centers from Florida and New York offered to sell homes in Detroit, lying about the home’s values and selling prices.READ MORE: 4-Year Long Project Aims To Repair I-275 Starting This Summer
Many of the homes had been acquired for no more than $500. Once purchased, investors were unable to contact the telemarketers again.READ MORE: Pastor Calls For Prayer Rally In Response To Recent Freeway Shootings
“This nationwide telemarketing fraud not only caused millions of dollars in losses to victims of the scheme, but it also contributed to blight in Detroit neighborhoods,” United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade said. “Thousands of homes were left to fall into decay as a result of these individuals using Detroit real estate as a commodity to accomplish their fraud.”MORE NEWS: Standardized Testing To Resume: U.S. Dept. Of Education Denies Michigan's Testing Waiver Due To COVID
The telemarketers utilized aliases and frequently changed the name of their company to avoid disgruntled investors and law enforcement. The charges include conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Each count carries a possible 20-year jail sentence.