The man behind an alleged mortgage fraud scheme was sentenced today to five years for targeting homeowners with financial problems and tricking them into signing their dwindling savings away.
Edward G. McCusker, 49, of Chesterbrook in Bucks County, was convicted June 22, 2011, along with his wife Jacqueline McCusker, 49, of mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, along with other charges.
Jacqueline McCusker was sentenced to a year of home confinement followed by three years of probation.
McCusker was ordered to forfeit $400,000 and a pay a fine of $12,500 and after sentence must undergo three years of supervised release.
Codefendant John Bariana pled guilty and is awaiting sentencing. The partners behind Bennett & Doherty, a law firm which participated in the fraud, were are also convicted of related charge. Jeffrey Bennett pled guilty and will be sentenced Friday; Stephen Doherty pled guilty and was sentenced to a year in prison.
While operating Axxium Mortgage Inc., the McCuskers and Bariana obtained 35 fraudulent mortgage loans worth more than $10 million.
These mortgages were obtained as part of a scam to defraud distressed homeowners of their assets.
The McCuskers promised homeowners they could find an "investor" to help save their home. But in fact, they set up up homeowners with fraudulent mortgages, then transferred their payments to their own bank accounts.
The scam involved convincing homeowners to allow Axxium to sell their homes and transfer title to new buyers, obtain new mortgages under the new names, while deceiving banks in various aspects including the fact that the original homeowners continued to reside in their homes. Jacqueline McCusker acted as a straw buyer for 10 homes, as did Barianna, while McCusker recruited seven other straw buyers.
Doherty found financially distressed homeowners and referred them to the McCuskers. Bennett falsified paperwork to conceal the fraud and obtain loans on victims homes.