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Man found dead at Duluth apartment complex April 19, 2014


Thumbs up to officials who are putting the squeeze on those committing mortgage fraud.

Authorities this week have put a halt to a mortgage fraud scheme targeting a middle-class Dacula neighborhood- the third bust since the passage of a new state law designed to combat the increasingly prevalent crime.

A coalition of state and local law enforcement have arrested nearly 10 individuals thus far and expect to arrest as many as 15 to 20 more suspects before the investigation concludes.

The Dacula case involves 13 houses with a value of about $250,000 each listed at inflated prices of up to $350,000 so buyers could defraud lending institutions.

After the fraudsters pay off the seller, they allegedly pocket the extra money and leave the houses sitting vacant, said police. In turn, this trashes up what at one time was a nice neighborhood.

And thumbs up also to the Dacula residents who paid attention and noticed something awry. Investigators said, Wolf Creek subdivision residents began to notice several properties in the 5-year-old subdivision with just over 200 homes were not being maintained. Acts of vandalism increased, and some of the houses were rented out to tenants who normally could not afford to live there, according to residents. They alerted law enforcement and the busts began.

Community service

Thumbs up to Boy Scout Troop No. 50 from Snellville.

The group this week got top honors for putting the environment high on their list of good deeds.

Boy Scout Troop No. 50 was named this year's Great American Cleanup Gwinnett Challenge Grand Prize Winner. Troop Leader Bill Thompson accepted a $2,500 check from the Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful Citizens Advisory Board. Troop 50 plans to use the reward to buy equipment to support their scouting program.

Running all the way to the bank

Thumbs down to Jennifer Wilbanks and John Mason for proving that sometimes, crime does pay.

Cost for sending the city of Duluth on a four-day wild goose chase: $40,000.

Negotiated tab to pay the city for its trouble and save you from a pesky lawsuit: $13,249.

Parlaying your felonious stupidity into a half-million-dollar publicity stunt: Priceless.