Foreclosure Rescue Operator Gets 24 Months in Equity Stripping Scam That Peddled Phony Sale Leaseback Deals Purporting To Help Financially Strapped Homeowners Save Their Homes
From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Minneapolis, Minnesota):
- [A] 40-year-old Bloomington man was sentenced for his role in defrauding financial institutions and homeowners under the guise of a program to rescue homes from foreclosure.
- [U]nited States District Court Judge John R. Tunheim sentenced Richard Scott Spady to 24 months in federal prison and two years of supervised release on one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and one count of filing a false income tax return. On April 4, 2012, Spady was charged in a superseding indictment, and he pleaded guilty on September 5, 2012.
On April 22, 2013, Spady’s co-defendant, Michele Denise Sengstock, age 50, also of Bloomington, was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison on one count of wire fraud. Spady and Sengstock were ordered to pay $1,127,129.31 in restitution.
In his plea agreement, Spady admitted operating his scheme between 2005 and 2007. According to the charges in the case, Spady operated a company called Unified Home Solutions, or UHS, which identified homeowners who were facing mortgage foreclosure or already in foreclosure proceedings. UHS then found third party investors to purchase the homes, planning to sell them back to the original homeowners within one to two years. In the meantime, according to the Indictment in the case, the distressed homeowners could live in their homes.
Though in foreclosure, because they could not make mortgage payments, the homeowners still had some equity in their homes. When the properties were sold, checks were issued to the original homeowners for their equity. The homeowners then signed over the equity checks and the proceeds were used to pay expenses and divided among the investors, UHS, and others. In some cases, equity from one sale was used to purchase other distressed properties.
(1) For more on this type of foreclosure rescue ripoff, see:
- Criminal Prosecutions Of Sale Leaseback Peddlers In Equity Stripping Foreclosure Rescue Deals;
- Dreams Foreclosed: The Rampant Theft of Americans' Homes Through Equity-stripping Foreclosure 'Rescue' Scams (June 2005).