Six New Jersey residents have been indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud for allegedly running a bogus foreclosure rescue scheme that stripped equity from the homes of struggling borrowers and caused about $3.8 million in losses for mortgage lenders.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Silver Buckman, 36, of Cherry Hill, N.J., her parents, Vincent Foxworth, 69, and Cynthia Foxworth, 63, of Turnersville, N.J., Danette Thomas, 52, of Pennsauken, N.J., Byron White, 44, of Pennsauken, N.J. and Franklin Busi, 46, of Sicklerville, N.J., are charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud for their alleged roles in the scheme.
According to the indictment, Buckman owned and operated Fresh Start Financial Services in Mount Laurel, N.J., and was an employee of American Home Lending as well as a mortgage broker for American One Mortgage. Her father is an experienced Realtor.
Authorities allege that between October 2006 and November 2009, Buckman and her co-defendants targeted financially vulnerable homeowners, telling 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 either 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 the Foxworths and others to be straw borrowers. White also recruited a straw borrower. Buckman and Busi then 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 instead took the money for themselves. Buckman used the majority of the proceeds to pay the fees due the straw borrowers, as well as the down payments on behalf of the straw borrowers in subsequent transactions in order to further the scheme. She also used some of the money for personal expenses, authorities allege.
Buckman used only a fraction of the proceeds to pay the borrowers' mortgages and thereby caused the loans to go into default.
If convicted, the defendants face 87 to 108 months in prison, plus restitution.