Feds charge 2 in mortgage fraud scheme

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Two men are facing criminal charges after federal investigators said they took part in a mortgage fraud scheme in Rhode Island.

According to the office of U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha, Ricardo Abreu and Hasan Hussain are accused of conspiring to defraud more than a dozen financially distressed homeowners, along with financial institutions and investors.

Prosecutors allege the two men acquired properties in short sales and then solicited investors to purchase the properties at a much higher rate.

The properties were located in Providence, Pawtucket, and Cranston, according to Neronha’s office.

Abreu, 50, of Cranston, and Hussain, 55, of Princeton, N.J., were both charged with wire fraud and conspiracy while Hussain also faces a charge of aggravated identity theft.

Neronha’s office said the charges were the latest in a wide-ranging series of criminal investigations into mortgage fraud. To date, a total of ten people have been charged in federal court in Providence.

“Today’s defendants join their cohorts in facing charges for allegedly manipulating the mortgage lending process in a whole variety of ways,” Neronha said in a statement. “The kind of schemes alleged here raise the cost of mortgage lending for all Rhode Islanders, and are therefore deserving of our most concerted law enforcement efforts.”

Abreu appeared in court Friday and was released on an unsecured bond while Hussain is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court on Jan. 27.