A jury in West Palm Beach, Fla., convicted Cathy Saffer of Pompano Beach and public accountant Barrington Coombs for setting up a foreclosure rescue scam that stripped borrowers of their equity, leaving them without a home.
Saffer was convicted of one count of conspiracy, three counts of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud. The jury convicted Coombs of one count of conspiracy and one count of wire fraud.
Meanwhile, another party accused in the scheme, Lisa Wright of Pompano Beach, Fla., pleaded guilty to partaking in the foreclosure scheme back in March.
Saffer and Wright set up a business called Foreclosure Solution Specialists, which ran from 2006 through 2009. The pair advertised that the firm would help distressed borrowers by selling their homes off to investors and letting borrowers live in the residence with a future option to buy.
Instead, the firm sold the properties to straw purchasers while making misrepresentations on loan applications.
Barrington Combs in his role as accountant was paid to sign a letter that vouched for the fraudulent information on the loan applications. Wright and Saffer allegedly drew equity from the homes, pocketed it and then allowed the loans to go into foreclosure, leaving the distressed homeowners with nothing.
"Foreclosure rescue schemes victimize Americans in dire straits at risk of losing their most prized possession – the roof over their heads," said acting assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. "These convictions demonstrate that we will aggressively prosecute individuals who prey on homeowners struggling in these tough financial times."