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A first-time Phoenix homebuyer was scammed out of his $73,000 down payment, derailing two home purchases.

Jon Richard Rattray of Gilbert has been indicted for fraud, money laundering, identity theft and forgery. He's suspected of taking out multiple mortgages on metro Phoenix homes to tap their equity and then filing documents to hide the loans.

The owner of Hawkeye Real Estate Services LLC would then take out more loans on the homes or sell them to buyers. Neither the lenders nor the homebuyers would know the properties were tied up with debt from other loans.

The fraud scheme costs the victims - homebuyers and lenders – more than $6.3 million, according to the Arizona Attorney General's Office. A state grand jury indicted Rattray on the charges.

The state prosecutor alleges Rattray’s Hawkeye Real Estate filed forged lien releases on real estate records for his properties with the Maricopa County Recorder''s Office. Those releases made it look like the homes were debt free to buyers and lenders.

The Recorder’s Office contacted the attorney general about the fraudulent filings.

Rattray was arrested at his Gilbert home on Aug. 16 and couldn’t be reached for comment.

He is not a licensed real estate agent or mortgage loan officer in Arizona.

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