TAMPA, Fla. (11/6/09)--Roughly 105 individuals have been charged with fraudulently procuring more than $400 million in loans on more than 700 properties in Florida as a result of a nine-month Mortgage Fraud Surge investigation, announced the U.S. Attorney's Office for Middle Florida. Those being charged with fraud for property and/or housing, or fraud for profit include lenders, real estate brokers, multiple borrowers, realtors, sellers, financial institution branch managers, financial institution employees, contractors, mortgage brokers and loan originators, the office said in a press release issued Wednesday.. Of the 105 defendants, 32 arrests were in Ft. Meyers, 30 in Tampa, 19 in Orlando and 24 in Jacksonville. The cases involve both mortgage schemes designed to defraud mortgage lenders and foreclosure-rescue schemes that prey on homeowners distressed by the economy. Some credit unions are believed to be among the victims. There currently are already 500 defendants in federal mortgage fraud cases around the nation. The newest investigation was conducted by the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Tampa and Jacksonville divisions and spanned 15 different agencies, including the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. The announcement said it is the first phase of a continuing effort to investigate and prosecute not only mortgage fraud professionals and other individuals engaged in multiple fraudulent mortgage transactions, but also larger organizations and even financial institutions.