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October 30, 2015

Cherry Hill woman, parents convicted in $3.8 million mortgage fraud scheme

Defendants advised desperate homeowners that they could escape foreclosure

A Cherry Hill woman and her parents were convicted Thursday in federal court for a $3.8 million mortgage fraud scheme that involved preying on desperate New Jersey homeowners facing foreclosure, prosecutors announced Friday.

Between October 2006 and November 2009, the defendants – Silver Buckman, 37, and her parents, Vincent and Cynthia Foxworth, of Turnersville – offered to help financially vulnerable individuals save their homes from foreclosure.

Buckman, who owned and operated Mount Laurel-based Fresh Start Financial Services, was an employee of American Home Lending and a mortgage broker for American One Mortgage. She allegedly told vulnerable homeowners that they could improve their credit, save their homes from foreclosure or provide them with money through a lease buyback program.

Prosecutors say the targeted homeowners were told "investors" would temporarily refinance their homes and that they would be able to repurchase them after a year or when their financial status improved. The defendants allegedly had the victims sign documents relating to the sale and lease of their homes by their representations. The terms of these documents said that the homeowners would retain the title to their homes, their equity would be placed into an individual escrow account in their names, and new mortgages would be paid from the escrow accounts to re-establish a timely payment history.

Buckman recruited her parents and others as straw borrowers, submitting false information about them to mortgage lenders. After the lenders agreed to the fund the mortgage loans, Buckman barred the homeowners from receiving the settlement proceeds and never put money into escrow accounts. The defendants distributed the proceeds amongst themselves.

By using just a small portion of the money toward paying the mortgages obtained by straw borrowers for homeowners, Buckman allowed the loans to go into default.

Each of the defendants face a possible advisory sentencing guideline range of approximately 87-108 years in prison, plus restitution.