Mississippi group heads to court charged with mortgage fraud

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WDAM) - Three people convicted in 2007 for their role in a Mississippi mortgage fraud scheme are having their appeals heard this week in the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

Alleged ringleader Richard Lucas along with former Hattiesburg attorney Kimberly Castle and former Petal appraiser Kenneth Stalnaker, were all sentenced to jail time and fines after federal prosecutors claimed they bought distressed properties in Hattiesburg, Petal, Laurel and Gulfport at low prices then inflated appraisals and selling the homes while pocketing the difference.

Now the three are appealing their conviction. A total of 13 people were charged in the scheme; the 10 others pleaded guilty before their case went to trial.