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Nabbed After 8 Months on the Lam, Mortgage Fraud Kingpin Allegedly Attacks Prosecutor

Ronnie Duke of Fenton was arrested Monday in Saline, eight months after he allegedly skipped bail on a loan fraud conviction.

Fugitive Ronnie Duke, 46, of Fenton appeared in federal court in downtown Detroit Monday. He allegedly attacked a prosecutor in open court.
Fugitive Ronnie Duke, 46, of Fenton appeared in federal court in downtown Detroit Monday. He allegedly attacked a prosecutor in open court.

A fugitive tied to one of the country’s largest mortgage fraud scams allegedly assaulted a federal prosecutor when he was arraigned in federal court in Detroit Monday, hours after he was arrested without incident in Saline.

Ronnie Duke, 46, of Fenton had been on the lam since June, when he failed to surrender to federal prison officials after he and 15 co-defendants were convicted in a scheme the FBI said used fake documents to obtain hundreds of home loans, resulting in some $100 million in losses that financed a lavish lifestyle for Duke and his co-conspirators, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Duke, reportedly the kingpin in the fraud operation, allegedly assaulted the prosecutor, a female, as he signed paperwork, U.S. District Court spokesman Rod Hansen said.

“The marshals were all over him,” Hansen said. “It wasn’t just a push or something like that.”

Neither the prosecutor’s name nor her condition are known. Hansen said the prosecutor “appeared to be OK, but took herself to the hospital to be checked out.

From 2003 to 2007, Duke and his co-conspirators reportedly used money secured from more than 450 loans on houses throughout Metro Detroit to pay for luxury vacations, boats, cars and a nightclub.

As part of the scam, Duke created phony title companies, used straw buyers and hired former strippers to process the loans on houses valued at between $350,000 and $600,000, the Detroit News said. Payments stopped after a few months and 80 percent of the loans reportedly ended in foreclosure.

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