Man accused of attempting to buy homes with stolen identities

A 37-year-old Atlanta man is accused of stealing people's identities, and then using those identities to attempt to purchase his own foreclosed property.

Brent Merriell was arrested Tuesday, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. He faces two counts of making a false statement to the FDIC and four counts of aggravated identity theft.

Merriell apparently obtained several million dollars worth of loans in his name, and in the names of family and friends, from Omni National Bank. On March 27, Omni was taken over by the FDIC.

By October, Merriell was delinquent on loan repayments and faced foreclosure on 14 properties, according to Patrick Crosby with the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Merriell then asked the FDIC to allow him to "short sale" two properties each to seven new purchasers at greatly reduced amounts.

But the new purchases were being made in the names of people whose identities had been stolen, and the sales contracts were forged and counterfeited, Crosby said. Merriell was arrested before any of the sales could be completed.

If convicted, Merriell could face up to 30 years in prison, and fine of up to $1,000 for each false statement charge.

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