Con artists use a "straw man" or "straw buyer" to purchase a property. A straw buyer is usually someone fairly unsophisticated who has passable credit. Often straw buyers are told by the huckster-a mastermind who uses a false identity and typically poses as a sophisticated investor-that they'll get a nice chunk of money if they go in on a plain-vanilla business transaction with him.
The straw buyer gets a mortgage on the property. Then the straw buyer signs the property over to the huckster in a quitclaim deed, relinquishing all rights to the property as well as the underlying mortgage. The straw buyer gives the huckster the mortgage proceeds, taking a small cut-usually 10 percent-for himself. The huckster doesn't make any mortgage payments and often even pockets rent from unsuspecting tenants until the property falls into foreclosure. Usually the straw man, not the mastermind, is arrested for fraud.