Archives For Foreclosure Rescue

Timothy W. Burke, also known as “Bill Burke,” “William Burke,” “Kerry Saunders,” “Pat Riley,” “Jim Caldwell,” “Jim Saunders,” “Tom Morrisey,” “Jimmy,” “Phil Burke,” “Phil,” “Burt,” “James Burke,” and “M. Soler,” 65, formerly of Easton, Connecticut, plead guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford, Connecticut, to fraud and tax evasion offenses stemming from a long-running fraud scheme that targeted distressed homeowners.

According to court documents and statements made in court, between approximately 2010 and November 2015, Burke engaged in a scheme to defraud individuals, mortgage lenders and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by falsely representing to homeowners who were in, or facing, foreclosure on their homes that he would purchase their homes and pay off their mortgages. The distressed homeowners agreed to sign various documents, including quitclaim deeds, indemnification agreements, management agreements and third party authorization letters, which Burke presented to them on the understanding that, by signing the documents, they would be able to walk away from their homes without the burdens of their mortgage or other costs associated with home ownership. Burke also told homeowners that the process of negotiating with the lenders can take time and that, in the meantime, to ignore any notices regarding foreclosure. After he gained control of these houses, Burke rented out the properties to tenants by advertising the properties on craigslist.com and other means and falsely representing to tenants that Burke owned the property.

Burke or one of his agents then collected rent from tenants, in person, and Burke used the funds for his own benefit. Burke failed to negotiate with the homeowners’ mortgage lender or pay expenses associated with the home, including the homeowner’s mortgages and property taxes, and he failed to pay any rental income he was collecting to the homeowners. Many of the properties Burke purportedly purchased were ultimately foreclosed upon by the mortgage lender.

Burke undertook extensive efforts to disguise his true identity, and hide his criminal past, from his victims through the use of multiple aliases and business entities, and to conceal the sources of and expenditures from his criminal proceeds. Burke has been associated with multiple entities, including Quality Asset Management Services, LLC; Birmingham Investments, LLC; the Birmingham Group of Companies; Saunders Associates; New Haven Investments; Realty Partners Group; Preston Associates II; Landlord Maintenance Services, LLC; Turnkey Construction Services LLC; The Complete Handyman, LLC; and Woodbridge Associates.

In addition, between 1994 and 2012, Burke evaded paying approximately $403,726 in federal taxes.

In 2002, Burke was indicted by a federal grand jury in New Jersey on charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, and equity skimming. Burke subsequently pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit both equity skimming and mail fraud, and he was sentenced to 60 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Burke was released from federal custody in approximately August 2007 and began his federal supervised release at that time. One of the special conditions of Burke’s supervised release was that he refrain from employment in the real estate business or mortgage industry. Based on his motion for early termination of his supervised release, the New Jersey federal court terminated his supervised release approximately one year early in August 2009.

Burke pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, and one count of tax evasion, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years. Judge Shea scheduled sentencing for April 18, 2017.

Burke has been detained since his arrest on November 19, 2015.

The guilty plea was announced by Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut. The matter is being investigated by Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with the critical assistance of the Middletown, Plainville, Easton and Coventry Police Departments, the Connecticut State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David T. Huang and Sarah P. Karwan.

Domonic McCarns, 41, Irvine, California, was sentenced to 14 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller for conspiracy to commit mail fraud for his participation in a nationwide foreclosure-rescue scam, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

McCarns is the final defendant to be sentenced for a pair of schemes that lured homeowners with the promise to help them avoid foreclosure and repair their credit. Two indictments were brought in 2008. Four defendants were convicted after two jury trials, 13 defendants pleaded guilty, and now, all 17 defendants have been sentenced. On September 9, 2013, Charles Head was sentenced to 35 years in prison, and on October 29, 2014, his brother and fellow leader in the scheme Jeremy Michael Head was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

According to court documents, the defendants solicited homeowners facing foreclosure, and through misrepresentations, fraud, and forgery, substituted straw buyers for the victim homeowners on the titles of properties without the homeowners’ knowledge. These straw buyers were often friends and family members of the defendants, or were solicited on the internet. Once the straw buyers were on title to the homes, the defendants applied for mortgages to extract the maximum available equity from the homes. The defendants then shared the proceeds of the ill-gotten equity and the “rent” that the victim homeowners paid them. Ultimately, the victim homeowners were left with no home, no equity, and with damaged credit ratings.

Initially, the scam focused on distressed homeowners in California before expanding throughout the United States. In the course of the schemes, between January 2004 and June 2006, the defendants obtained over $90 million in fraudulent loans, caused estimated losses of over $50 million, and stole title to over 300 homes.

On December 2, 2013, McCarns was convicted after a five-week trial along with Charles Head, 36, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, (formerly of Los Angeles); and Benjamin Budoff, 49, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Head had been previously convicted in a trial in a nearly four-week trial in May 2013 with his brother Jeremy Michael Head, 34, Huntington Beach, California.

The case was the product of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael D. Anderson and Matthew Morris prosecuted the case.

Fourteen other defendants have been sentenced:

Elham Assadi, 39, Irvine, California, sentenced to 5 years’ probation with 6 months of home detention;

Leonard Bernot, 50, Laguna Hills, California, sentenced to 18 months in prison;

Akemi Bottari, 36, Los Angeles, California, sentenced to 3 years’ probation with 6 months of home detention;

Keith Brotemarkle, 51, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, sentenced to 5 years, 10 months in prison;

Benjamin Budoff, 49, Colorado Springs, Colorado. sentenced to 4 years in prison;

Joshua Coffman, 37, North Hollywood, California, sentenced to 20 months in prison;

John Corcoran, 61, Anaheim, California, sentenced to 4.5 years in prison;

Sarah Mattson, 33, Phoenix, Arizona, sentenced to 3 years’ probation with 3 months of home detention;

Omar Sandoval, 36, Rancho Cucamonga, California, sentenced to 4 years and 10 months in prison;

Xochitl Sandoval, 37, Rancho Cucamonga, California, sentenced to 8 months in prison;

Lisa Vang, 31, Westminster, California, sentenced to 3 years’ probation;

Andrew Vu, 38, Santa Ana, California, sentenced to 6 months in prison with 6 months of home detention;

Justin Wiley, 37, Irvine, California, sentenced to 18 months in prison, and

Kou Yang, 40, Corona, California, sentenced to 4 years in prison.

Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert said, in announcing the sentence: ‘This scheme purposely targeted the financially vulnerable during their time of greatest distress with promises of help. The defendants tricked the victims into handing over their most valuable assets, their homes. Few economic crimes are more reprehensible. This final sentence in this case will bring some measure of justice for their victims.”

In large fraud schemes like the one devised by Charles Head, we can’t forget about the individual homeowners who comprised the millions of dollars in losses,” said Monica M. Miller, Special Agent in Charge of the Sacramento division of the FBI. “Today’s sentencing ends an investigation that has been ongoing for more than 10 years and brings some closure to the innocent people who were victimized by Head’s callous scheme.”

Dominic McCarns and his co-conspirators assured innocent homeowners across the country facing foreclosure that they could turnaround their misfortunes and keep their homes,” said Michael T. Batdorf, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “However the defendants had other plans which resulted in one of the most harmful mortgage fraud schemes in the country. The sentence handed down today by the court is befitting of this defendant and his actions.”

Sergio Roman Barrientos, 62, Poway, California, was indicted by a federal grand jury in a six-count superseding indictment that charged both Barrientos and Zalathiel Aguila, 42, Fairfield, California.

According to the indictment, Barrientos, Aguila, and Omar Anabo, 53, Vallejo, California, engaged in a foreclosure rescue fraud scheme that began in September 2004 and continued to February 2008. Barrientos and Aguila are charged with conspiracy to commit and the commission of wire fraud affecting a financial institution, bank fraud, and conspiracy to make and making false statements on loan applications. On January 15, 2016, Anobo pleaded guilty to conspiring to make false statements on loan applications (case number 2:16-cr-001 GEB). He is scheduled for sentencing on November 4, 2016. Continue Reading…

Ligia Sandoval Spafford (Sandoval), 48, Roseville, California, was sentenced  by U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley to two years and three months in prison for a scheme to defraud distressed homeowners Sandoval was ordered to self-surrender on June 9, 2016.

Sandoval paid $115,065.00 in restitution, the full amount of restitution ordered by the Court, to compensate the victims for the losses that they incurred as a result from this fraud scheme. In February 2015, Sandoval and her then husband, Martin Wayne Flanders, 51, Roseville, California, pleaded guilty to mail fraud for the fraud scheme. On October 29, 2015, Flanders was sentenced to six years and five months in prison.

In sentencing, Judge Nunley stated: “She knew what was going on and enticed these people to become part of this scheme. They trusted her. … She ruined some peoples’ lives. That she paid restitution does not do anything to take away from the anxiety and fear they [the victims] had at the time that this was occurring. These victims were devastated.Continue Reading…

Randy Poulson, 44, Woolwich Township, New Jersey, was sentenced to 72 months in prison for scamming distressed homeowners into giving him their houses and then soliciting fake real estate investments from private investors – secured by those same properties – that netted him more than $3 million in illicit profits.  Poulson previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Renée Marie Bumb to Count One of an indictment charging him with mail fraud.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Poulson owned and operated Equity Capital Investments, LLC and Poulson Russo LLC and was the former president of the South Jersey Real Estate Investors Association. Paulson gave speeches, seminars, monthly dinners and various private tutorial sessions, purporting to teach real estate investing tips to individuals who paid fees to attend. Continue Reading…

Zalathiel Aguila, 42, Vallejo, California, and Omar Anabo, 53, Vallejo, California pleaded guilty to conspiracy to make false statements on loan applications.

According to court documents, between October 2004 and May 2007, Aguila and Anabo operated Vallejo‑based Capital Access LLC, an entity targeting homeowners facing foreclosure. The defendants’ “Keep Your Home” program purported to be a temporary rescue plan whereby “qualified investors” took over the mortgages while the homeowners paid rent and worked on rebuilding their credit. The defendants convinced homeowners to sign over title to their homes, which were then sold to straw buyers. The straw buyers obtained loans under fraudulent pretenses by claiming on loan applications that, for example, they intended to occupy the homes as primary residences and that no part of the down payment for the purchase was borrowed. In fact, Capital Access provided the down payment amounts, and the straw buyers never intended to live in the properties. The defendants stripped the equity from the homes and used it to pay the operating expenses of Capital Access, additional fraudulent home purchases, monthly housing payments on the homes for a limited period of time, and personal expenses. Continue Reading…

Terry Meisinger, 75, Seal Beach, California, was sentenced to 8 years in federal prison in connection with his operation of a bogus mortgage rescue scheme in which is made false promises to dozens of distressed homeowners, filed fraudulent bankruptcies to delay foreclosure and rented the properties to third parties during the bankruptcy delays. United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips rejected Meisinger’s arguments that his age merited a lower sentence and noted that, even if Meisinger was released from prison when he was 80 years old, he would still pose a danger to the public. Continue Reading…

David W. Griffin, 44, Lutz, to three years in federal prison for bankruptcy fraud and making a false statement during a bankruptcy proceeding.

According to court documents, Griffin operated a foreclosure rescue scheme through his companies, Bay2Bay Area Holding, LLC and Business Development Consultants, LLC.  The purpose of the scheme was to obtain quitclaim or warranty deeds from distressed homeowners facing foreclosure in return for false promises to rescue their homes from foreclosure by negotiating with creditors, renting the properties back to the homeowners to obtain rental income, and falsely promising that the homeowners could repurchase the properties from Griffin. To maximize his rental income, Griffin also prevented creditors and guarantors, including the Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration, from pursuing lawful foreclosure and eviction actions against homeowners who had defaulted on their mortgages. This was accomplished by filing, and causing to be filed, fraudulent bankruptcies in the names of the homeowners without their knowledge or consent.  Continue Reading…

Silver Buckman, 37, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, her parents, Vincent Foxworth, 70, Turnersville, New Jersey and Cynthia Foxworth, 64, Turnersville, New Jersey, were convicted by a federal jury for a mortgage fraud scheme that stripped the equity from the homes of desperate homeowners facing foreclosure.  The three were found guilty of bank fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud. Their scheme caused losses to mortgage lenders of approximately $3.8 million.

The defendants offered to help financially-vulnerable individuals save their homes from foreclosure or obtain money from the equity in their homes but, instead, defrauded the homeowners and mortgage lenders. Buckman owned and operated Fresh Start Financial Services (“FSFS”), in Mount Laurel, New Jersey and was an employee of American Home Lending as well as a mortgage broker for American One Mortgage (“AOM”). Her father is an experienced Realtor.

Between October 2006 and November 2009, Buckman and her co-defendants allegedly targeted financially vulnerable homeowners and represented to them that they could improve their credit, save their homes from foreclosure, or provide them with money through Buckman’s lease buyback program. The homeowners were told that “investors” would be used to temporarily refinance their homes and that they could repurchase the homes in one year, or once they regained their financial footing. The defendants also allegedly induced the homeowners into signing documents related to the sale and lease of their homes by their representations that the homeowners would remain on the title to their homes, that the equity from their homes would be placed into an individual escrow account in their names, and that new mortgages would be paid from the escrow accounts to establish their timely payment histories.

In order to carry out the scheme, Buckman recruited Vincent Foxworth and Cynthia Foxworth and others to be straw borrowers. Buckman submitted false financial and employment information about the straw borrowers to mortgage lenders. Once lenders agreed to fund the mortgage loans, Buckman prevented the homeowners from receiving the settlement proceeds and did not put money into escrow accounts for the homeowners. Instead, the defendants distributed the proceeds amongst themselves. Buckman used only a fraction of the homeowners’ monies toward the payment of the mortgages obtained by the straw borrowers for the homeowners’ homes and thereby caused the loans to go into default.

U.S. District Court Judge R. Barclay Surrick scheduled a sentencing hearing for January 29, 2016.The defendants each face a potential advisory sentencing guideline range of approximately 87 to 108 months in prison plus restitution.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service and IRS Criminal Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anita Eve.

Costa Mesa Woman Could Be Sentenced To Federal Prison For Running A Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Scheme

A 31-year-old Costa Mesa woman could be sentenced to federal prison today for running a foreclosure rescue fraud scheme that targeted homeowners with bogus promises of mortgage relief.

Najia Jalan faces between two and six years behind bars following her July guilty plea in Los Angeles to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.