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Home builder sentenced for mortgage fraud
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A home builder scheduled to go to trial this week for racketeering and mortgage fraud accepted a plea deal in Newton County Superior Court Monday, although the trial was continued to another date.

Wayne Keith Mixon, 49, of Athens, entered an "Alford" plea to two counts of residential mortgage fraud, based on two Newton County homes built by his company, Royal Homes.

Mixon was sentenced to 20 years, with four in confinement, and a fine of at least $2,000. An "Alford" plea indicates the defendant does not admit guilt but recognizes a jury would find him guilty, according to Chief Assistant District Attorney Layla Zon.

Mixon was one of 10 people arrested in 2006 for alleged involvement in a mortgage fraud ring that affected three Newton County homes.

His remaining co-defendants - Tracey Dionne Moore, 41, of Covington, broker Wendell T. Higgs, 45, of Suwanee, appraiser Trudy Jacek, 62, of Chamblee, and Fred Odomes, 36, of Austell - still face one count under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act and eight counts of residential mortgage fraud.

Odomes was taken into custody on a bench warrant Monday morning until the trial date, which is yet to be scheduled.

The trial was continued because Moore's attorney was occupied with a murder trial in Fulton county, according to the Newton County District Attorney's office.

Authorities began investigating in February 2006 after an Alpharetta man reported his identity had been stolen and used for a $500,000 mortgage on a home he had not purchased.

The home at 30 Polly Court, for which the victim had inadvertently received a closing package in the mail, was built by Royal Homes and initially listed at $394,900 in 2004.