Indictment Charges Six in Multi-Million-Dollar Mortgage Fraud Scheme
PHILADELPHIA—An indictment was filed yesterday charging six people, including a couple and their daughter, in a wide-reaching mortgage fraud conspiracy in which the defendants allegedly stripped the equity from the homes of desperate homeowners facing foreclosure, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. The scheme caused losses to mortgage lenders of approximately $3.8 million. Silver Buckman, 36, of Cherry Hill, NJ, her parents, Vincent Foxworth, 69, and Cynthia Foxworth, 63, of Turnersville, NJ, Danette Thomas, 52, of Pennsauken, NJ, Byron White, 44, of Pennsauken, NJ and Franklin Busi, 46 of Sicklerville, NJ, are charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud. Some of the defendants are also charged with bank fraud and wire fraud.
According to the indictment, the defendants engaged in a scheme in which they offered to help financially-vulnerable individuals save their homes from foreclosure or obtain money from the equity in their homes and, instead, defrauded the homeowners and mortgage lenders. Buckman owned and operated Fresh Start Financial Services (“FSFS”), in Mount Laurel, NJ 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.
According to the indictment, in order to carry out the scheme, Buckman recruited Vincent Foxworth and Cynthia Foxworth and others to be straw borrowers. White also recruited a straw borrower. Ultimately, Buckman and Busi submitted false financial and employment information about the straw borrowers to mortgage lenders. Once lenders agreed to fund the mortgage loans, Buckman and some of the other defendants allegedly 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 the majority of the proceeds due the homeowners to pay the fees due the straw borrowers, the down payments on behalf of the straw borrowers in subsequent transactions to further the scheme, and her personal expenses. She 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.
If convicted, the defendants face an advisory sentencing guideline range of at least 87 to 108 months in prison plus restitution.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Postal Inspection Service and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anita Eve.
An Indictment, Information or Criminal Complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.