Eddie Zaben, 39, Dearborn, Michigan, is charged with one count of continuing criminal enterprise (racketeering), a 20-year felony, and eight counts of false pretenses over $20,000, each a 10-year felony. The charges resulted from a year-long investigation by the Michigan Mortgage Fraud Task Force and included efforts from the Michigan State Police, U.S. Secret Service, and the Attorney General’s office. The joint investigation revealed Zaben used his business, MYA’s Investment Group, LLC, to perpetrate large scale mortgage fraud. The scheme involved the financing of at least eight Wayne County homes in 2006 and 2007.
For each property, a straw buyer was recruited and asked to sign the closing papers. Zaben presented fraudulent mortgage applications on their behalf containing falsified employment and income information. Records indicate that some or all of the proceeds disbursed at the closing went to Zaben. As a result of the scheme, each of the properties has been foreclosed or is in the process of foreclosure.
Six others were charged earlier for crimes including ID theft, false pretenses, and uttering and publishing: Dagoberto Reyes, 53, Detroit, Michigan, Evelyn Santana, 53, Union City, New Jersey, Mohamed Beydoun, 27, Detroit, Michigan, Memoud Makky, 29, Dearborn, Michigan, Ali Hassan Haidous, 25, Dearborn and Balil Hashem, 26 of Dearborn.
“Mortgage fraud is a serious threat to Michigan’s economy, killing jobs and hurting residents’ pocketbooks,” said Attorney General Mike Cox. “By committing wide scale fraud, these defendants have contributed to the declining home market that is ruining family finances.“
Zaben was arraigned in the 19th District Court in Dearborn before Judge Hultgren. The court imposed a $20,000 personal recognizance bond and Zaben is next due in court for a preliminary examination scheduled for July 31. Other arrests could come shortly.
“I would like to thank the Michigan State Police and the Secret Service for their hard work over a significant period of time to help build this serious case,” said Cox.
Attorney General Mike Cox has made prosecuting mortgage fraud a priority for his office. In 2008, Cox created a mortgage fraud unit and teamed up with the Michigan State Police and other law enforcement agencies to tackle the problem. In the last six months alone, Cox has charged 12 people with mortgage fraud-related offenses. Cox’s office has also held seven mortgage foreclosure forums to help families stay in their homes during these difficult times.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the Defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.