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Two charged with mortgage fraud after undercover investigation

A west suburban man and a Chicago woman have been charged with participating in a mortgage fraud scheme involving South Side two-flats following a federal undercover investigation.

George Dravilas, 36, of Medinah; and Bridge Hutcherson, 40, of Chicago, were each charged with bank fraud in a criminal complaint filed Tuesday, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

A witness who was arrested in January 2013 identified Dravilas to authorities as someone he had worked with on fraudulent mortgage transactions, which led the FBI to open an undercover investigation, according to prosecutors.

The witness posed as a mortgage broker seeking assistance in structuring fraudulent mortgage loans, according to the complaint. Dravilas agreed to prepare the documents for the fraudulent loan applications to the bank for the purchase of two South Side two-flats by straw buyers.

Dravilas schemed to sell both apartment buildings — located in the 6300 block of South Parnell and the 6600 block of South Sangamon —for a fraudulently inflated price of $275,000 each, prosecutors allege. Of that, $100,000 would go to each of the straw buyers, while Dravilas would keep a fee for himself and the others.

Dravilas claimed not to own the properties, but supplied real estate purchase contracts, title commitments, fraudulent and inflated lease rental agreements, money to obtain fraudulently inflated appraisals, and letters extending and renewing the real estate purchase contracts, prosecutors allege.

Hutcherson received $600 to supply one of the participants with fraudulent W-2s, check stubs and earnings statements in the names of the straw buyers, to be used for the loan applications, prosecutors allege.

Dravilas remains in custody pending a detention hearing Friday afternoon in U.S. District Court, according to the statement. Hutcherson was released on her own recognizance.