HAMMOND | A Portage man and a Gary man entered into plea agreements Monday in connection with an alleged real estate scheme that siphoned at least $600,000 from lenders
Richard T. Loveless, of Gary, and Jeffrey Youngheim, of Portage, signed plea agreements on mail and wire fraud charges in U.S. District Court in Hammond.
Six other local residents also are connected with the case.
The group allegedly collected hundreds of thousands of dollars as part of fraudulent real estate practices in the sales of about 25 homes between 2005 and 2006, according to court records. As part of the alleged conspiracy, lenders were given false information about buyers, such as inflated incomes, to help the lenders approve them for mortgages. The group members took a portion of those funds, according to the indictment.
Three defendants worked for Netlink Construction Investment Group, a home repair company, and allegedly charged for services they did not provide and included the invoices as part of statements to the Department of Housing and Urban Development that itemize all charges imposed on a borrower and seller in a real estate transaction.
A Schererville woman was a loan processor, and her son bought some of the suspect properties, according to the indictment. Within a few months, she sold the properties for up to 300 percent more than what he paid for them, the indictment states.
Youngheim and Loveless, of real estate sales and brokerage company Property Liquidators Inc., also allegedly sold some properties that were part of the scheme.
The buyers were told they would get help in recruiting renters for their new properties, and that they would receive money back from the purchase to go toward repairing the homes, according to the indictment.