Federal officials in New Jersey have charged 11 people from five states in an alleged $15 million mortgage fraud operation that included the attempted murder of witness.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman says defendants from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, George and Alabama engaged in a scheme to create false documents and use straw buyers to persuade lenders to give them $15 million for oceanfront properties that were worth far less.

All the defendants face wire fraud-related charges, and several face money laundering counts. One is charged with the attempted murder of a straw buyer who was a witness to the alleged scheme.

Fishman says several of the defendants targeted oceanfront condominiums in Wildwood Crest and North Wildwood, as well as Naples, Fla., that had been overbuilt by financially distressed developers.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)