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Four Charged in Permian Basin Land Flip Scam

MIDLAND, Texas (AP) _ Four people in West Texas have been arrested in what prosecutors call a $27 million scam to buy property, falsely inflate the value and resell the land on the same day.

A federal indictment unsealed Thursday names four people from the Midland-Odessa area _ Stephen Mark Hilliard, Michael Duraine Cowan II, Cynthia Gayle Hirsch and Berta Laura McFaddin. All are charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud since 2003.

Hilliard and Cowan are also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Authorities say the same-day “flip” scheme involved property bought by companies linked to Hillard or Cowan, then sold at inflated prices to other companies owned by the pair. Hilliard and Cowan allegedly obtained mortgages using falsified financial information.

Prosecutors on Friday didn’t immediately provide custody information on the defendants.

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Posted by on Jan 10 2014. Filed under News.


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