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updated: 11/27/2013 2:12 PM

Title company owners, lawyers among 9 charged in mortgage fraud cases

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Daily Herald Staff report

The owners of a Downers Grove title company and two attorneys, one disbarred, are among nine people accused of fraudulently obtaining four home mortgage loans totaling more than $1 million.

Four defendants, Muntazer Ali Saiyed, also known as Monty Saiyed, 37, of Bartlett; Saged Ansari, 32, of Hanover Park; Azeem Syed, 30, of Bolingbrook. and Precious House, 47, of Chicago also are accused of using stolen identities to purchase property in one of the cases.

Also named in the indictment unsealed Monday are Avid Guel, 60, and his wife, Mary Gleason, 48, both of Blue Island, who owned the former U.S. Worldwide Title Services LLC in Downers Grove, as well as Harvey Wright, 46, a disbarred lawyer from Chicago. All seven were charged with two counts of wire fraud.

The seven are accused of fraudulently getting two mortgage loans between September 2008 and March 2009 for properties on Chicago's South Side.

According to the indictment, the seven falsified real estate contracts, loan applications, title commitments and other documents. They are accused of recruiting straw buyers to assume the stolen identities and pose as buyers to obtain loan money for their personal use.

All seven defendants pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court and were released on bond. A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 13.

The case is part of Operation Mad House, an undercover federal operation targeting mortgage and real estate fraud in the Chicago area that has resulted in more than 50 convictions since 2009.

In an unrelated case, George Kouvelis, 39, of Bloomingdale, and Karim Dure, an Evanston attorney, were each charged with two counts of wire fraud in an indictment that was unsealed on Nov. 14 after Kouvelis was arrested.

They are accused of falsely obtaining two mortgage loans for a buyer for two properties owned by Kouvelis in Chicago.

Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and restitution is mandatory. The identity theft count carries a maximum of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Both pleaded not guilty and were released on bond and are scheduled to appear in court Jan. 6.

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