‘Dream Homes’ Turns into Nightmare
The company had all the trappings of success—its top officials lived lavish lifestyles, kept a fleet of chauffeur-driven cars, and donated generously to charities. And it used slick marketing to sell its “Dream Homes Program,” which promised to pay homeowners’ mortgages in return for an up-front fee that would be invested in profitable business ventures.
But the dream turned into a $70 million nightmare for more than a thousand investors—among the latest victims of mortgage fraud.
Here’s how the scam worked:
- Between 2005 and 2007, victims were persuaded into investing at least $50,000 with Metro Dream Homes, either by refinancing their existing homes or buying new homes at inflated prices.
- Investors were told not to worry about high mortgages because Metro Dream Homes would pay their future monthly payments and pay off their mortgages within five to seven years using returns on the homeowner’s original investment. Then the homeowner and Metro Dream Homes would own an equal interest in the home.
- Victims were told that their $50,000—not including an administrative fee of up to $5,000—would be used to fund investments in automated teller machines, flat-screen TV displays that carried commercial advertisements, and Touch-N-Buy electronic kiosks that sold telephone calling cards and other items.
- To make the scam seem more legitimate, the company marketed its program through live presentations at posh hotels in Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; and even Beverly Hills, California.
Read the full story from thr FBI Headline Archives.