Pa. couple convicted of $14.6M mortgage fraud
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - June 21, 2011 (WPVI) -- A suburban Philadelphia couple was convicted Tuesday in a $14.6 million mortgage fraud scheme that ripped off almost three dozen homeowners facing foreclosure.
Edward and Jacqueline McCusker of New Hope were found guilty of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and mail and wire fraud. The McCuskers, both 47, were dismayed by the conviction and planned to appeal, their lawyers said.
Prosecutors said the McCuskers and others involved with Axxium Mortgage Inc. defrauded homeowners in Bucks and Montgomery counties by finding "investors" to buy their homes while the owners rented them back and tried to save money in hopes of repurchasing them. Instead, prosecutors said, the owners lost their homes and whatever equity they had in them, an amount that authorities said sometimes topped $100,000 and in one case reached $500,000.
Defense attorneys said their clients were trying to help people, not cheat them.
"Obviously our clients are devastated, and we are disappointed," said Edward McCusker's attorney, Lyn Wescott. She said an appeal was likely if post-trial motions are unsuccessful.
Jacqueline McCusker's attorney, Hope Lefeber, said she was shocked by the verdict and "definitely" planned to appeal. She said no one was defrauded, and the McCuskers lived up to their obligations to both the homeowners and the banks.
"All they ever wanted to do was help people stay in their homes," she said. "They have lost everything and are facing foreclosure themselves, and now they are convicted of this. It's a very sad situation."
philadelphia, pennsylvania, fraud, new hope, bucks county, crime
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