Beginning in 2001, scam artists like Kevin Wiggins demonstrated how mortgage fraud could work in West End, where he purchased dozens of homes in poor condition for as little as $24,000, then deeded them to unqualified straw buyers, such as college students or relatives, paying them a percentage of the profits he made from obtaining mortgages for the allegedly renovated properties. Wiggins would flip the homes, reselling them for ever-increasing amounts, sometimes $100,000 more than the original price.

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