Thursday, March 13, 2008 | 3:46 p.m.
A Las Vegas real estate broker and her husband have been indicted by a federal grand jury in a massive mortgage fraud scheme involving 227 properties throughout the valley worth $107 million.
Charged in the indictment are Eve Mazzarella, 30, president of Distinctive Real Estate & Investments, and Steven Grimm, 45, president of Pro Design Inc. and R.E. Property Solutions.
The indictment alleges that Mazzarella and Grimm used “straw buyers” to purchase the 227 properties in a scheme that began in January 2004 and ended up defrauding more than $15 million from banks that extended loans to the phony homebuyers.
The banks were forced to sell at least 118 of the properties in foreclosure proceedings, the indictment said.
U.S. Attorney Gregory Brower announced the indictment at a news conference where he also detailed the creation of a joint federal task force to investigate mortgage fraud. The Sun reported last month that the FBI, IRS and Nevada attorney general’s office were teaming up in the joint investigative venture. Metro Police also are participating in the task force.
“Victims of mortgage fraud may include the banks which loan the money, but also include all homeowners and would-be homeowners who end up paying for this type of fraud,” Brower said in a prepared statement.
Nevada led the nation in per capita foreclosures in 2007.