Madison County Husband and Wife Sentenced in Mortgage/Bankruptcy Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 18, 2009|
JACKSON, MS—Robert E. Power, Jr. was sentenced on December 17 to serve eight years and nine months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Donald R. Burkhalter, FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel McMullen, U.S. Trustee R. Michael Bolen, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, and Madison/Rankin County District Attorney Michael Guest announced today. Power’s wife, Deaundrea M. Power, was sentenced to serve 12 months and one day in prison, followed by one year of supervised release. The Powers were also ordered to pay $318,668,23 in victim restitution.
The Powers pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, as well as bankruptcy fraud, on August 21, 2009. Because Robert Power was on supervised release from a prior tax fraud conviction when he committed the crimes, Judge William Barbour sentenced Robert Power to an additional 10 months in prison to run consecutively with the previous sentence handed down by Judge Tom S. Lee.
Robert and Deaundrea Power, doing business as Yorkshire Financial Services, targeted homeowners at risk of foreclosure. The defendants represented that if the homeowners transferred their property to Yorkshire, and made monthly payments, Yorkshire would in turn renegotiate or refinance mortgages so the homeowners could remain in their homes. The Powers then created bogus business entities through the Secretary of States Office, assigned quit claim deeds to targeted properties as the sole asset of the shell company, and subsequently placed those entities in bankruptcy, without the knowledge or consent of the initial homeowner/victim. At least ten homeowners lost their homes in the scheme, while Robert and Deaundrea Power received financial benefit from the fraudulent activity.
The office of the U.S. Trustee referred this matter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecution. The investigation was a joint effort led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office, the Office of the U.S. Trustee, and the Madison/Rankin County District Attorney’s Office.
District Attorney Michael Guest applauded the sentence, saying, “A criminal scheme to steal money from poor people who thought they were getting current on their mortgage payments is especially offensive. The victims in this cases included people whose homes were being foreclosed, the lending institutions and other creditors to whom money was owed, and included the United States Bankruptcy Court itself. My office will continue working with the United States Attorney and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in aggressively prosecuting financial crimes in Madison and Rankin County.”
U.S. Attorney Burkhalter said, “We will continue to vigorously pursue fraud in the Bankruptcy Court and to seek lengthy jail sentences, just as was imposed in this case.”