Indiana man sentenced to seven years for foreclosure fraud

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An Indiana man was sentenced to just over seven years in federal prison after his conviction for participating in a foreclosure rescue fraud scheme.

Phillip Yoder pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, mail fraud and bankruptcy fraud. He was sentenced to serve 87 months on the first three counts, which were related to foreclosure fraud, while he received 60 months for the separate bankruptcy fraud charges; those sentences will be served concurrently.

"Creating a scheme that enriches the defendant while defrauding banks, insurers and average homeowners, jeopardizes our financial system," Thomas Kirsch, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, said in a press release. "My office in coordination with all our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively prosecute these type of cases."

Total loss to investors and lenders because of the mortgage fraud was $1.47 million.

"Everyone has the right to expect honest representation from those they do business with. Targeting homeowners with this type of fraudulent activity when they are already dealing with financial hardship is not only illegal but a violation of trust and won't be tolerated by the FBI," said Grant Mendenhall, special agent in charge of the Indianapolis division. "The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to investigate and pursue those who try to line their pockets at the expense of others and hold them accountable."

Yoder, through an entity named KOH Enterprises, monitored foreclosure notices, and he and others would then approach distressed homeowners and convince them to transfer title of the property in exchange for false promises of being able to avoid further obligations to the lender.

A quitclaim deed would be filed to transfer ownership, but that did not extinguish the borrower's mortgage obligations.

"Yoder and others would use the mail to send a fraudulent document, entitled an 'International Promissory Note,' purporting to satisfy the outstanding mortgage debt to the financial institution holding the mortgage," the U.S. attorney's office said." Simultaneously, Yoder and others would cause a fraudulent 'Satisfaction of Mortgage' to be filed with the county recorder’s office in an attempt to discharge the mortgage."

Besides the jail time, Yoder also was sentenced to two years of supervised release and ordered to pay a total of $581,386.04 in restitution.

"At such a critical time for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, with programs that are vital to the well-being of so many in our communities, it is critical that those resources are completely dedicated to those in need," HUD Special Agent in Charge Brad Geary said. "The HUD Office of Inspector General is committed to partnering with federal prosecutors and fellow law enforcement to aggressively pursue those engaged in activities that harm HUD's single-family housing programs."

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Mortgage fraud Foreclosures Distressed Enforcement DoJ U.S. Attorneys Office Indiana