Four people were indicted in an alleged $70 million scam that promised more than 1,000 homeowners their mortgages would be paid off within seven years, authorities said.
The defendants used money from later investors to pay the mortgages of earlier ones, the Justice Department said Monday.
The money also was used to employ a staff of 10 chauffeurs, maintain a fleet of luxury cars and pay for trips to the 2007 Super Bowl, the department said.
Homeowners paid at least $50,000 for each property in the program and an administrative fee of up to $5,000, the government said.
The defendants' company was supposed to co-own the homes after the mortgages were paid off.
The program was marketed through presentations at hotels in places such as Washington and Beverly Hills, according to the Justice Department.
Andrew Hamilton Williams Jr., 58, of Hollywood, Fla., Michael Anthony Hickson, 46, of Commack, N.Y., Isaac Jerome Smith, 46, of Spotsylvania, Va., and Alvita Karen Gunn, 31, of Hanover, Md., were indicted.
Authorities also filed a criminal information, which typically indicates a defendant has agreed to plead guilty, against Carole Nelson, 50, of Washington.