(Source: DallasNews.com) – For two Dallas County men, homes left vacant by owners who defaulted on their mortgage payments presented an opportunity.

But the men were not real estate agents.

Instead, federal authorities say, Melvin Ray Layman and Daylon Esaw hatched a plot to fraudulently take ownership of the homes and sell them.

The two filed forged quitclaim deeds in Dallas County that appeared to indicate the owners sold their homes to them, records show. They then filed lawsuits against banks that held liens on the houses in an attempt to force a legal settlement that would allow them to sell the homes, authorities say.

Instead, both men were charged in a 15-count federal indictment with bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Layman, 63, of Grand Prairie, has been released pending trial. He could not be reached for comment.

Esaw, 26, of Duncanville, remains in federal custody after a federal magistrate ruled that he is a safety risk.

Esaw has been indicted in two other federal cases. One is sealed and the other involves credit card fraud.

Federal prosecutors said in court records that Esaw is a “major player in schemes involving illegal drugs, identity theft and credit card fraud.” They said he has no legitimate job and has been squatting in a foreclosed house.

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Moe Bedard
My name is Maurice "Moe" Bedard. I am the founder of America's #1 Mortgage Forum, LoanSafe.org. My online work has been featured in the New York Times, LA Times, Fox Business, and many other media publications.