handcuffed.jpgTALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ Seven arrests have been made in connection with a $5 million mortgage fraud scheme in South Florida.

Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Miami-Dade Police Department made the announcement Thursday.

The charges include organize fraud and grand theft and are punishable by a maximum of 30 years in prison and $10,000 fine.

Authorities say the scheme operated with straw buyers who purchased numerous properties.

Once the loan was secured and records reflected a price well over the actual price paid to the seller, a variety of financial exchanges would take place to make the purchase appear legitimate.

The laundered money would then go back to the closing agent's escrow account and be characterized in the records as the cash brought to the closing by the straw buyer.