An alleged Hawaii real-estate scam racks up more than $3 million, but could also rack up major prison time for three suspects.
All three suspects were arrested by the FBI Wednesday, but two of them were in court for their arraignment and plea. Jennifer McTigue of Aina Haina, and Sakara Blackwell of Kahala are two of the three suspected of pulling off a "debt elimination scheme" in Hawaii.
The feds say the suspects purchased seven different homes on Oahu and the Big Island at an extremely low foreclosure rate. For example, buying a $700,000 dollar home for just $20,000 dollars.
The suspects were able to do this because the purchased homes had liens on them.
But they were supposed to also take over the mortgages that those homes carried from the bank.
Instead, investigators say the suspects found a way to trick the Bureau of Conveyances to get those titles cleared, and publicly record those properties to be mortgage free. Then they sold the homes and pocketed the cash.
KITV4 caught up with one of the defendants' attorneys Wednesday.
"We haven't really addressed the allegations because they are voluminous, and we simply haven't had the time to go over each and every one of the allegations," said Rustam Barbee, McTigue's attorney.
The families who bought those homes won't be out any money, but the losers in this would be the title insurance companies the home-buyers used to check the properties records.
All three suspects are being charged with multiple counts of mail fraud money laundering and wire fraud. Those could bring 10 to 30 year sentences per count.
The third suspect was arrested in California.
Marc Melton will appear in court in Sacramento Thursday before he is ordered to face these charges in Hawaii.
Officials say McTigue and Blackwell pleaded not guilty to the charges.