Archives For Wisconsin

Aston Wood, 55, New Richmond, Wisconsin, has been charged today with four counts related to an alleged mortgage fraud scheme.

The indictment charges that Wood engaged in a scheme to defraud from September 2015 to July 2019.  He is charged with one count of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, one count of bankruptcy fraud, and one count of criminal contempt of court.

The indictment alleges that Wood represented to owners of homes in foreclosure that he could help them stay in their home by obtaining refinancing or modification of their mortgage, and that he instructed customers to make monthly mortgage payments towards a new or modified loan in an amount he selected, payable to him or to a limited liability company of which he was the sole member.  The indictment alleges that rather than remit the payments to lenders as promised, Wood instead deposited the payments in bank accounts he controlled and used the funds for his own personal expenses.

The indictment further alleges that Wood offered to help some customers buy back their foreclosed property, and he continued to solicit and receive funds from customers or their families based on false representations that the funds would be used to repurchase the property.   In addition, the indictment alleges that Wood told some customers to file for bankruptcy to stall foreclosure proceedings, which allowed Wood to delay detection and continue collecting monthly mortgage payments from customers.

The fourth count of the indictment alleges that Wood disobeyed a lawful order of a Court of the United States, an injunction issued on October 24, 2017, by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Catherine J. Furay in the Western District of Wisconsin, which permanently enjoined Wood from soliciting customers, offering to perform, and performing services related to mortgage foreclosure and debt relief.

If convicted, Wood faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on both the wire fraud charge and the mail fraud charge, and five years on the bankruptcy fraud charge.  The criminal contempt of court charge has no maximum penalty; the penalty is at the Court’s discretion.

You are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The charges against Wood are the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office acknowledges the assistance of the Office of the U.S. Trustee.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith Duchemin is handling the prosecution.

 

Christian Peterson, 45, Madison, Wisconsin, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Barbara B. Crabb to seven years in federal prison following his convictions for bank fraud, money laundering, and making false statements to banks. Peterson was previously convicted of lying about the purpose of a $1.1 million loan for real estate development.

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Todd A. Brunner, 57, and Shawn A. Brunner, 24, both of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, are the subjects of a sixteen count indictment charging them with bank fraud, making false declarations and oaths, and concealing assets, including real estate in bankruptcy.

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David E. Robert, 42, Madison, Wisconsin, was sentenced on June 12, 2014, by U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb to six months in federal prison, a $1,000 fine, and two years of supervised release for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme wherein he used a falsified tax documents to obtain a first and second mortgage.

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Jay Fischer was found guilty by Marathon County, Wisconsin, Judge Gregory Huber of a million dollar mortgage fraud scheme wherein he failed to pay off prior mortgages, resulting in dual active mortgages on homes.

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Chester D. Howard, also known as C. Daniel Howard, 41, Verona, Wisconsin, is charged in a seven-count indictment with making false statements. He is charged with five counts of falsely stating to banks that he was the owner of property as collateral for a loan, when he knew he was not the owner of the property.

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James Scalzo, 46, Kenosha, Wisconsin, was sentenced by Judge Lynn Adelman to 35 months in prison for his role in a bank fraud and money laundering scheme.

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Michael E. Kraus, 63, Medford, Wisconsin, has been indicted by a federal grand jury sitting in Madison, Wisconsin, and charged with making false statements to financial institutions concerning the extent of his liabilities.

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Becky Lynn Ring, formerly known as Becky Lynn Stoltenberg, 38, Madison, Wisconsin, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb to 12 months probation and ordered to pay $336,100 in restitution for her role in a mortgage fraud scheme.

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James Wazlawik, 48, Prescott, Wisconsin, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman to one day in jail, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for making a false statement to a bank in connection with a home equity loan.

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