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Mortgage Fraud Fugitive Busted

CBS News producer Stephanie Lambidakis wrote this story for
With the FBI drowning in mortgage fraud cases -- more than 1,300 and still climbing -- the Bureau has gotten a big break with the arrest of a New Jersey fugitive who allegedly masterminded a mortgage fraud scheme that defrauded major banks some $20 million.

The suspect, Jacob Kim, of Palisades Park, N.J., was hitting golf balls on a driving range when officers moved in. According to the narrative from the U.S. Attorney's office in Newark, a stunned Kim looked at them "like it was over " while officers confiscated $48 thousand in cash from his pocket.

Kim took elaborate steps to avoid detection, according to U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie, by donning wigs and other disguises, using aliases, and never sleeping in the same place too long. Kim, with the help of a dozen underlings, is accused of fooling 16 different lenders into believing they were doling out home equity and business lines to credit to different homeowners when in fact a single property was being used as collateral over and over again. Kim maneuvered to close the loans in quick succession before they were publicly recorded, which meant the banks could not see that each was making the same fradulent loan. In one instance, a Kim "client" used less than $300 thousand in equity in a Palisades Park property to obtain more than $2 million in credit from nine different banks.

Ten people have already pleaded guilty, and more charges are expected. U.S. Attorney Christie said that despite the complexity of the scheme, the voluminous paper trail eventually led them to Kim and his co-conspirators.

By Stephanie Lambidakis
By Stephanie Lambidakis