Ex-employees of an OC Real Estate Firm Arrested

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Federal authorities arrested five former employees of an Orange County real estate investment company this week, saying the suspects ran a fraudulent mortgage scheme that cost lenders millions of dollars in losses.

Following a grand jury indictment last week, federal agents on Wednesday arrested Aref Abaji, 31, of Aliso Viejo; Maher Obagi, 26, of Huntington Beach; Jacqueline Burchell, 52, of Orange; Mohamed Salah, 37, of Mission Viejo; and Mohamed El Tahir, 35, of Glen Burnie, Md. A sixth person, 48-year-old Wajieh Tbakhi of Corona, is still being sought, authorities said.

The defendants worked for Excel Investments, which was based in Irvine before moving to Santa Ana, or affiliated companies. Its phone was out of service Thursday.
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