Prison for Bucks man in $15 million mortgage scam

Posted: March 08, 2014

A Bucks County man was sentenced to five years in federal prison Thursday for using a supposed mortgage-rescue program to drain nearly $15 million in home equity from homeowners facing foreclosure.

In addition to the prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Mary A. McLaughlin ordered Edward G. McCusker, co-owner of New Hope-based Axxium Mortgage Inc., to pay $400,000 for his role in the mortgage-fraud scheme.

At a separate hearing Thursday, the judge sentenced McCusker's wife, Jacqueline, to one year of home confinement. A federal jury convicted both on counts of mail and wire fraud in 2011.

They are the second and third defendants to face sentencing in what prosecutors have described as an elaborate equity-skimming ring that led dozens of Bucks and Montgomery County homeowners to lose their houses between 2004 and 2007.

Prosecutors said distressed homeowners were referred to the McCuskers' firm with promises of new mortgages that could help them keep their homes. The couple cosigned the mortgages and entered lease-buyback agreements with the original owners.

But instead of making the new mortgage payments, the defendants pocketed the rent money, prosecutors said.

Edward McCusker's attorney, Lynanne Wescott, said Thursday that she would appeal the sentence.

On Monday, McLaughlin sentenced Doylestown-based bankruptcy lawyer Stephen Doherty to just over a year in prison for his role in the scheme. His law partner, Jeffrey Bennett, a former Doylestown Township supervisor, is scheduled for sentencing Friday.


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