Bucks County couple convicted in mortgage fraud

Posted: June 22, 2011

A Bucks County couple were convicted Tuesday in federal court of a $14.6 million mortgage-fraud scheme targeting homeowners facing foreclosure, prosecutors said.

Edward G. and Jacqueline McCusker of New Hope face lengthy prison sentences, prosecutors said. The couple, both 47, also face large fines and possible forfeiture of the proceeds from their fraud.

The McCuskers operated Axxium Mortgage Inc. They worked with codefendants Jeffrey A. Bennett and Stephen G. Doherty, both lawyers, who have pleaded guilty and await sentencing. Codefendant John Bariana also has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

The defendants sought homeowners facing foreclosure and promised to help them find an investor to save their homes.

Prosecutors said the defendants engaged in real estate transactions with "straw" purchasers to obtain fraudulent mortgages. They took the equity the homeowners had left, used some of it to pay the new mortgages, and kept the remaining money for themselves.

Doherty solicited and referred homeowners to Edward McCusker, and used fraudulent bankruptcy filings to delay some foreclosures. Bennett handled the closings for real estate transfers, manipulating information provided to lenders. They operated from their Doylestown law firm of Bennett & Doherty.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Pennsylvania Department of Banking.


Contact staff writer Robert Moran at 215-854-5983 or bmoran@phillynews.com.

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