By Meymo Lyons
The ringleader of a mortgage fraud scheme involving dozens of homes in Northern Virginia and losses of more than $9 million has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Real estate agent Ruben Rojas led a criminal enterprise that resulted in 20 arrests last year. Police investigated after residents in some Fairfax County neighborhoods complained that the homes in question were serving as illegal boarding houses.
The five-year sentence was longer than what prosecutors sought. Both the judge and the government say Rojas' behavior is a prime example of what went wrong nationally in the housing market.
Mortgage fraud has been a top priority for federal prosecutors in Virginia, with more than 50 criminal cases since 2009. Banks and other victims lost more than $100 million in those frauds.