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A hard-money lender who once described himself as “a wolf” was arrested Tuesday after being indicted for mortgage fraud.

Between 2008 and 2009, Emiel Kandi, of University Place, submitted false information in at least 19 loans as a way to make them appear legitimate, according to charges filed in federal district court in Tacoma.

Pierce Commercial Bank processed many of the loans, which were for properties in Kent, Puyallup, Gig Harbor and Vancouver. The loans were insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

A Seattle Times investigation, published Nov. 13, 2010, revealed how Kandi preyed on unsophisticated, desperate borrowers who sought short-term loans. The report showed how Kandi set up the loans with predatory terms so that he could quickly take possession of borrowers’ homes. In some cases, he flipped the homes for profit.

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In describing his practices, Kandi, now 36, told The Times “I am a wolf” whose only requirement for borrowers was to have “a pulse and a legal ability to sign.”

Hard-money lending typically involves short-term, higher-interest commercial loans to people with businesses or real-estate investments who can’t get conventional bank loans.

But Kandi used this form of lending to take properties from homeowners. Home mortgages are subject to interest-rate caps, consumer protections and full disclosure of all costs.

The indictment alleges Kandi submitted false information such as the borrowers’ employment, salary, credit worthiness and inflated appraisals of properties to obtain home mortgage loans.

Kandi faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted as charged.

“The business practices of this defendant harmed individuals who lost their homes,” U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said. “Then the lies told in mortgage documents harmed taxpayer funded institutions such as the Federal Housing Administration.”

Christine Willmsen: or 206-464-3261. On twitter @christinesea

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