Mortgage broker, lawyer headed to prison for role in foreclosure rescue scheme

At least two of five defendants convicted of participating in what prosecutors characterized as a “massive mortgage fraud scheme” targeting distressed homeowners are prison-bound.

The scam involved lawyers and mortgage brokers who used straw buyers to obtain at least 35 fraudulent loans worth more than $10 million.

Edward G. McCusker, 49, of Chesterbrook, Pa., was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison after being convicted by a jury in June of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, wire fraud and mail fraud.

McCusker’s wife, Jacqueline, 49, who with her husband operated Axxium Mortgage Inc., was sentenced to one year of home confinement. The couple were ordered to forfeit $400,000.

Attorney Stephen G. Doherty, who allegedly referred distressed homowners to McCusker, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year in prison.

Doherty’s law partner, Jeffrey A. Bennett, who allegedly handled closings and falsified information provided to lenders, also pleaded guilty and was scheduled to be sentenced today.

John Bariana, who allegedly acted as a straw purchaser for 10 homes, pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. Source: