Wayne County prosecutors working with state, county, and federal agencies have announced the arrest of a Canton man in an elaborate real estate fraud scheme.
Thirty-two-year-old Samer Salami is charged with conducting an alleged criminal enterprise.
Federal authorities say people who engage in the type of fraud he's accused of are really targeting all American taxpayers.
"They are taking hardworking Americans money and putting it in their own pockets," said Mike Stephens of the Federal Housing Financing Agency Inspector General.
How It Worked
Prosecutors says Salami was a licensed agent for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. They say he would list homes for sale, but wouldn't tell people the properties belonged to Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, as he was legally required to do.
They say he would elicit bids from legitimate buyers, for example getting a $100,000 offer for a home. Once Salami had that bid in hand, a company he controlled, Trademark Assets, would offer Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac $75,000.
Prosecutors say Salami would convince Fannie or Freddie to take the lower bid, and then Trademark Assets would turn around and sell the property to the original buyer, with Salami pocketing the $25,000 difference.
And, that's not all.
"He would also get a commission, a double commission from the first sale and then a commission for the subsequent sale to the bona fide buyer," said Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.
Mike Stephens of the Federal Housing Financing Agency says since taxpayers have invested $180 billion dollars in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, any fraud targeting them hits all of us.
"It's shameful behavior! That the charges here today send a powerful message that individuals who try to defraud Freddie and Fannie, that they will suffer the consequences of their actions," Stephens added.
Wayne County Sheriff Benny N. Napoleon said, "These individuals are placed in a position of trust- by the government and by the potential homeowners- they must be held accountable when they abuse this trust."
Attorney Defends Salami
At court this afternoon, Salami's attorney Dorard Elder said "The actions that they painted in there is not the Samer that we know ,and we intend on proving that in court."
Salami faces 12 counts, including two charges of conducting a criminal enterprise. Each of those two counts carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.