Pair Indicted for Operating Advance Fee Loan Scheme
BOSTON—A Florida woman and a man who previously resided in Beverly were charged in an indictment unsealed today in connection with an advance fee scheme involving approximately 100 victims throughout the United States, including many in Massachusetts.
Ann Elizabeth Ursiny, a/k/a Ann Stone, 50, and Robert E. O’Connor, 63, were indicted on 19 counts of mail fraud and 17 counts of wire fraud.
The indictment alleges that between early 2010 and 2011, Ursiny recruited agents, including O’Connor, in several states to solicit individuals to apply for loans through her entity Trace Financial Group Inc. (Trace) and to pay the advance fees. The agents, including O’Connor, were paid a portion of those advance fees. O’Connor and Ursiny told prospective applicants that Trace had successfully processed and disbursed many loans, when in fact none were ever disbursed. Ursiny and O’Connor focused their scheme on prospective applicants who had poor credit or whose homes were underwater and represented that Trace could replace their mortgage with a new, smaller mortgage with lower mortgage interest payments. The indictment alleges that Trace never funded any of the loans and failed to pay refunds as promised. Victims’ funds were used primarily for Ursiny’s personal and family expenses, as well as to pay “commissions” to agents.
If convicted, Ursiny and O’Connor each face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine on each count.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Mark J. Balthazard of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.
The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.