Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Elgin appraiser pleads guilty in mortgage-fraud case

A former licensed real estate appraiser pleaded guilty Monday to participating in a mortgage fraud scheme that bilked lenders out of about $11 million.

Thomas M. Groh, who ran Universal Appraisal Services, admitted he inflated appraisals in a scheme to sell run down apartment buildings in Chicago for far greater than their actual value.

Groh, 57, of Elgin, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and agreed to cooperate with federal authorities in the investigation.

Two co-defendants, mortgage broker Mohammad “Mike” Kakvand and Syed Ali Mohammed Razvi, who worked with Kakvand, are fugitives, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Havey said.

Groh faces about 2 years in prison. U.S. District Judge William Hibbler scheduled sentencing for June 1.

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