FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         CIV
THURSDAY, APRIL 24, 1997                           (202) 616 2765
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888

     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A Shreveport, Louisiana, attorney will
pay the United States $130,000 to settle allegations he assisted
in a fraudulent scheme to illegally obtain Federal Housing
Administration (FHA) insured mortgages, the Department of Justice
announced today. 

     Assistant Attorney General Frank W. Hunger of the Civil
Division and U. S. Attorney Michael D. Skinner of Shreveport said
the agreement settles claims that William Robert McKenzie
defrauded the FHA by assisting former Shreveport real estate
developer Michael Willis in fraudulently obtaining favorable FHA
mortgages on 25 townhouse properties in the same subdivision in
1985.  FHA regulations prohibited a single individual from
obtaining mortgages on more than seven properties in a single

     The government alleged that Willis, with McKenzie's
knowledge, paid a number of individuals to act as "straw buyers"
for the properties to evade the seven property restriction.  In
exchange for a payment of $2,000 from Willis, the fictitious
buyers used their good credit records to obtain approval for FHA-
insured mortgages.  The FHA is a Department of Housing and Urban
Development agency which enables people with low incomes to
purchase homes by insuring their loans.

     At the real estate closing in McKenzie's office, the straw
buyers immediately conveyed the properties back to Willis, who
made all down payments and closing costs, even though documents
submitted to HUD falsely stated that the straw buyers were the
real mortgage holders.  The mortgages eventually went into
default, and the FHA was forced to pay insurance claims on the

     The agreement settles a suit, United States v. William
Robert McKenzie, filed by the Department in U.S. District Court
in Shreveport.

     The case was conducted jointly by the Department's Civil
Division and the U.S. Attorney's office in Shreveport with the
assistance of HUD's Office of Inspector General in Ft. Worth,
Texas, and HUD offices in Shreveport and Washington, D.C.