(Source: www.toledoblade.com) Calling their crimes “morally reprehensible,” a federal judge on Monday sent four people involved in a phony home-loan modification scheme to prison.
U.S. District Court Judge James Carr ordered Christopher J. Howder, 40, of Perrysburg to spend seven years in prison and pay $561,799 in restitution. Howder pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, six counts of mail fraud, and seven counts of wire fraud.
While three co-defendants received considerably smaller sentences, Judge Carr postponed the sentencing of Jason Keating, 39, of Toledo, who was considered the leader of the conspiracy, until today.
Keating was president of Making Homes Affordable USA, a Toledo-based company that persuaded homeowners in danger of losing their homes to make their mortgage payments to it with the promise that it would help refinance their home loans at lower interest rates and more affordable payments. Instead, federal prosecutors said, Keating and the others spent the money as they pleased.
“We all know what the subprime mortgage crisis did to people, and many feared losing their homes,” Judge Carr told Howder. “Instead of helping them to avoid that situation, you made it worse, and you did it to a lot of people.”
The group took more than $1.4 million from 318 homeowners...