Edwin Jacquet, 38, Brooklyn, New York; Peter Romeo, 35, Brooklyn, New York; Edwin J. Mansour, Jr., 43, Staten Island, New York; and Denise Hudson, 47, Roosevelt, New York, have been indicted and charged in connection with a fraudulent credit repair scheme. As part of the scheme, the defendants falsely reported to credit bureaus inflated credit histories for thousands of individuals, enabling those individuals to get millions of dollars in loans from financial institutions and other lenders.
According to the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:
Consumer Reporting Agencies, commonly known as “credit bureaus,” are businesses that provide reports to third parties about the credit-worthiness of consumers. Credit bureaus gather information from many sources, including “furnishers,” which include entities that provide consumers with credit, such as credit card companies, automobile lenders, and department stores.
In September and October 2007, Highway Furniture, Inc., a Brooklyn-based business, became a furnisher. In July 2008, New York Funding Group Inc., a Hempstead, Long Island-based business, became a furnisher.
From 2007 through 2009, through Highway Furniture and, later, New York Funding, Jacquet, Mansour, Romeo, and Hudson engaged in a scheme to falsely and fraudulently improve the credit histories and credit scores of thousands of individuals who purportedly were customers of the two entities (the “Purported Customers”). In truth and in fact, however, the individuals had never been customers of Highway Furniture and New York Funding.
As part of the scheme, in exchange for thousands of dollars in fees, the defendants provided credit bureaus with fictitious information showing that Highway Furniture and New York Funding had extended credit to the Purported Customers and that the loans had been or were being repaid. The defendants also falsely and fraudulently improved the credit histories and credit scores of some of the Purported Customers by deleting accurate, but negative, credit information maintained by the credit bureaus. As a result of their fraudulently improved credit histories and credit scores, the Purported Customers obtained millions of dollars of loans from banks and other lenders.
Romeo, Mansour, and Hudson have been arrested and arraigned in Manhattan federal court. Jacquet remains at large.
Each defendant is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud (Count One) and one count of conspiracy to cause damage to a protected computer (Count Two). On Count One, the defendants each face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. On Count Two, the defendants each face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Brian G. Parr, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the United States Secret Service (“USSS”) New York Field Office, announced the unsealing of the Indictment.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Banks and other lenders rely on information from credit bureaus in making determinations about the credit-worthiness of consumers. These defendants allegedly subverted the entire reporting process to make a profit, and helped dupe a host of lenders who unwittingly extended millions of dollars in credit to people who were not worthy of the privilege.”
USSS Special Agent-in-Charge Brian G. Parr stated: “Schemes such as these adversely impact our nation’s banks and credit agencies, and harm hard-working Americans by eroding the public’s confidence in credit markets. Through the strategic support of our law enforcement partners, the Secret Service continues to effectively focus its investigative efforts on combating these types of financial crimes.”
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding efforts of the United States Secret Service in the investigation, which he noted is ongoing. He also thanked Experian Information Solutions, Inc., and TransUnion LLC for their assistance in the investigation.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney DANIEL W. LEVY is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges and allegations contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.