Lender found guilty in mortgage fraud scheme

A Hennepin County District Court jury has found a former Twin Cities loan officer guilty on all charges in a multi-million dollar scheme to defraud homeowners and lenders.

After a seven-week trial, Marlon Pratt was convicted Wednesday on two counts of racketeering and 17 counts of theft by swindle. It took jurors less than a full day of deliberations to return with the guilty verdicts.

Pratt was found guilty of submitting and obtaining bank loan applications with false information in order to obtain mortgages while working at Universal Mortgage, Inc.

He managed to get mortgages for more than $3 million worth of residential properties, according to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office.

Most of the homes were located in north Minneapolis and had gone into foreclosure.

Universal Mortgage and its agents falsified the loan applications for "straw buyers" to qualify them for bank loans. Some of the false statements included employment histories, incomes, assets, debts and intentions to reside in the purchased homes.

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