"The fraudsters are the vampires" many homeowners have to fear because they "suck the blood from our communities," says Alicia Shepard, founder of the Georgia Real Estate Fraud Prevention and Awareness Coalition.Speaking in Savannah, Ga., at the Southeast Mortgage Brokers Conference sponsored by the Georgia Association of Mortgage Brokers, Ms. Shepard said legal efforts to prosecute those who commit fraud have had mixed results. In her former neighborhood of Moorings IV in the Atlanta area, while there have been some arrests and convictions, the overall lack of successful prosecutions has destroyed neighborhood morale and unity, she said. Gwinett County authorities told Ms. Shepard and her family that the county could not protect them anymore, and she recounted incidents of abuse to her pets and property. As a result, her family had to leave what she termed their "dream home." Ms. Shepard said even upscale communities in the area, such as Wolf's Creek, while successful in many efforts to combat mortgage fraud, still have scars.

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