Man charged with selling homes to straw buyers

Federal authorities have charged Rab Nawaz of Waterford in connectiion with a real estate fraud scheme that involved purchasing homes in New London and selling them to straw buyers at artificially inflated prices.

Nawaz, 47, of Harbor View Avenue, was arrested Wednesdasy morning at his home. He appeared before U.S. District Judge Ellen Bree Burns on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and obstruction of justice and was released on a $100,000 bond secured by property.

Nawaz allegedly conspired with Syed A. Babar and others in a scheme involving real estate throughout Connecticut, costing lenders an estimated $2.5 million. The scheme involved more than 25 properties in New London, New Haven and other locations.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Nawaz purchased homes in New London and sold them to straw buyers at artificially inflated prices that, typically, were supported by fraudulent appraisals. Although the straw buyers would represent that they intended to occupy the homes as their primary residence, they had no intention of doing so. They defaulted on the loans and allowed the homes to go into foreclosure.

Following Babar's arrest on May 14, Nawaz allegedly met with a co-conspirator in the case, advised him of evidence that the government had presented against Babar and instructed him as to "what he should and should not admit knowing to government investigators," according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

The charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and the charge of obstruction of justice carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.

U.S. Attorney David Fein said the investigation is ongoing. The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Eric J. Glover.

-Karen Florin

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