Two Queens, N.Y., lawyers have been charged with participating in a $3 million real-estate fraud ring. Trevor Rupnarain and Shawn Chand, both Richmond Hill, N.Y., solo practitioners, were among 17 defendants charged by the Queens District Attorney’s Office with defrauding lenders and homeowners in a variety of fraudulent transactions involving 26 refinanced residential properties.

In some cases, the conspiracy’s ringleaders allegedly convinced distressed homeowners in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx to put the title to their homes in the names of straw buyers for one year, during which the defendants promised to improve their credit ratings and obtain more favorable mortgages before returning the title. Instead, the group’s leaders held the funds in escrow in order to siphon the proceeds.

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