(Source: Realtytoday.com) Real estate attorney, Hyacinth Bellerose, pleaded guilty in participating in a wide-ranged scheme to defraud banks and mortgage companies.

The scheme was done as part of a conspiracy involving sham "short" sales of numerous residential properties in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts.

Bellerose was convicted with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

According to the press release of the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts, Bellerose collaborated with a Methuen loan officer and a Haverhill real estate agent to feign a short sale, and thereby defrauded banks of the full value of the mortgage.

As part of the conspiracy:

1) "The conspirators falsely led banks to believe that the sales were arms-length transactions between unrelated parties, when in fact, the transactions were not arms-length, and the sellers retained control of (and frequently continued to live in) the properties after the sale. In some cases, the purported third-party buyers were actually the spouses, parents or children of the purported sellers."

2) "The conspirators submitted phony earnings statements in support of numerous loan applications that they submitted to banks on behalf of purported buyers, in order to obtain financing for the purported sales."...