2 Modesto fraud suspects appear in Fresno federal court

Two former Modesto men accused of bilking $10 million from elderly homeowners pleaded not guilty Tuesday in federal court in Fresno. Jim Lankford, who owned Century 21 Apollo, and his roommate, Jon McDade, were released Friday in San Francisco after posting unsecured property bonds of $1 million each. They surrendered passports and were ordered not to sell assets or take out lines of credit, a Department of Justice spokeswoman said. A federal judge in Fresno on Friday will review U.S. attorneys' request to stiffen bail amounts. According to an indictment, the men gained the trust of elderly property owners, lied to obtain lending, forged documents and moved property among them to secure multiple loans. Lankford is charged with 49 counts of mail fraud. McDade faces 10 counts of mail fraud and one of bank fraud.

-- Garth Stapley