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Mortgage broker arrested on fraud charges

Area residents had accused the man of cheating them.

By WAVENEY ANN MOORE
Published February 4, 2007


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Michael Danish, a mortgage broker who had been accused of defrauding several St. Petersburg residents, was arrested late last week.

Danish, who lives in Brandon, was charged with aggravated white collar crime, scheming to defraud a financial institution and fraudulent notarizing. Bail was set at $500,000.

In 2004, close to two dozen mostly poor, elderly St. Petersburg residents accused Danish, 46, of promising to help pay off debts and invest their money, but he failed to do so and kept most of the money.

It was unclear Friday whether the charges stemmed from those residents' claims.

At least three of the St. Petersburg residents have died since then, said Joseph Broadus of Gulfcoast Legal Services, which represented them. One was the late Jerry Lee Maxwell, who was 72 when she told Neighborhood Times that she was afraid to answer the phone because creditors called her "All day long. Saturday. Sunday."

Broadus said he is pleased with Danish's arrest but thinks it's a little late. "He got away with this for so long and hurt so many people. Maybe the wheels of justice grind slowly, but hopefully, they grind exceedingly fine," he said.

Times researchers Caryn Baird and Angie Drobnic Holan contributed to this report.

[Last modified February 3, 2007, 20:35:13]


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