Federal authorities on Wednesday unsealed a new federal indictment adding nine defendants to the Operation Wax House mortgage and investment fraud probe.
That brings to 92 the number of defendants who have been charged in the wide-ranging case, which was launched in 2007.
Authorities say the defendants were part of a criminal enterprise operating mainly in Charlotte and Waxhaw that stole more than $75 million from investors and mortgage lenders.
The Enterprise, as authorities call the scheme, operated from about 2005 to 2012 and engaged in racketeering activities including investment fraud, mortgage fraud, bank fraud, money laundering and distribution of illegal drugs.
Members of the Enterprise also bribed bank officials, according to a superseding federal indictment unsealed Wednesday.
Authorities say the defendants committed mortgage fraud in acquiring luxury homes in Charlotte and Waxhaw.
Those involved agreed to buy homes at their true price and then arranged buyers who would pretend to have the assets to buy the homes at an inflated value. At closing, the participants would split the difference, authorities said.
Many of those homes later fell into foreclosure.
Sixty-six of the defendants charged so far have pleaded guilty, authorities said. Twenty-six are currently charged.
Eric Frazier: 704-358-5145; Twitter: @ericfraz
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