There are 2 parts of my brain.Â One part of me is really, really happy to hear that people like this are being put behind bars.Â I really hope that stories like this one serve as deterrents to other criminals looking to take advantage of people.Â On the other hand, I hate reading stories like this as they are a real reminder of all of the horrible things that people have been doing over the past ten years.
Schemes like the one that this man has been convicted of have popped up all over the country.Â There was a similar one in Florida that happened at the same time.Â They really serve as a reminder for people to stay sharp.Â There are always sharks in the water, be careful out there.
This was reported in today's Worcester Telegram and Gazette by Gary Murray:
The man prosecutors accused of being the mastermind behind a complex
mortgage fraud scheme pleaded guilty in Worcester Superior Court today
to related larceny, forgery and uttering charges.
Allen J. Seymour, 42, of Oxford, was sentenced by Judge James R.
Lemire to 2 to 2 1/2 years in state prison, to begin after Mr. Seymour
completes a 51-month federal sentence he is now serving on unrelated
The state prison sentence imposed by Judge Lemire will
be followed by 5 years of probation. As conditions of probation, Mr.
Seymour was ordered to pay $750,000 in restitution and was banned from
working in any capacity in the real estate business.
to which he pleaded guilty involved what authorities said was a scheme
by which Mr. Seymour transformed apparent equity in distressed
properties into cash.
Beginning in September 2006, Mr. Seymour
targeted properties in danger of foreclosure, approached the property
owners and presented a variety of rescue options, according to Assistant
Attorney General Andrew Doherty.
In the cases of homeowners who
wanted to sell their dwellings to avoid foreclosure, Mr. Seymour offered
to buy the property for the amount owed to the foreclosing lenders, Mr.
For the several property owners who wished to
remain in their homes, Mr. Seymour offered rescue plans ranging from
â€œlifetime leasesâ€ and â€œreverse mortgagesâ€ to refinancing, according to
the assistant attorney general. Some of these homeowners were told they
would need to transfer title to the property to an â€œinvestorâ€ and some
were not, Mr. Doherty said.
Mr. Seymour allegedly had some
homeowners sign innocuous documents to start the process. The innocuous
pages were then discarded and substituted with pages purporting to grant
power of attorney from the homeowner to other individuals, including
Jason Passell, 52, of Worcester, Mr. Doherty told the court.
Passell, a co-defendant in the case, pleaded guilty today to uttering
and forgery charges and is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 11.
negotiating with the homeowners, Mr. Seymour found people with good
credit who were looking to invest in real estate, according to
prosecutors. Many of these investors were told they would be helping
homeowners in danger of foreclosure and Mr. Seymour related to several
that the purchase would only be temporary and the homeowners would buy
the property back once Mr. Seymour repaired their credit, according to
Others were told that Mr. Seymour's company would
rehabilitate the properties and then sell them at a profit, to be shared
by him and the investors, Mr. Doherty said.
none of the proposals made to the investors matched the transactions
presented to the homeowners and the investors were not told of the
â€œlifetime leasesâ€ and â€œreverse mortgagesâ€ promised to the homeowners.
$3 million in loans were obtained for the purchases, according to
investigators. Loan documents indicated the lender believed the purchase
price was far in excess of what the homeowner was selling the property
for, if, in fact, the homeowner knew he or she was selling the property
at all, Mr. Doherty said.
Oxford lawyer Raymond A. Desautels III,
who has since been disbarred, conducted all of the real estate
closings, according to Mr. Doherty. The homeowners never attended
because their documents were signed using a fraudulent power of
attorney, he said.
Mr. Doherty said Mr. Desautels issued a
proceeds check, payable to the homeowners, based on the false purchase
price. Mr. Seymour and Mr. Passell, with both the check and false power
of attorney in hand, then cashed the check at a check-cashing business
in Worcester, according to Mr. Doherty. In a period of about 18 months,
Mr. Seymour cashed more than $1 million in checks, prosecutors alleged.
the closings, several investors said Mr. Seymour reneged on his promise
to help them make their mortgage payments and those mortgages fell into
foreclosure. Some homeowners who were promised lifetime leases have
been evicted as a result of the foreclosures, authorities said.
Doherty recommended that Mr. Seymour be sentenced to 5 to 7 years in
state prison with 5 years of probation to follow and that the sentence
begin after Mr. Seymour completes his federal sentence.
Seymour was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison in July 2009 and
was ordered to pay $2.94 million in restitution to a man prosecutors
said he had swindled in a real estate deal. Mr. Desautels received a
30-month sentence in the federal case and a concurrent state prison
sentence of 2 years to 2 years and a day on charges stemming from the
mortgage fraud scheme.
Mr. Seymour's lawyer, Kevin C. Larson,
recommended to Judge Lemire today that his client receive a sentence of
no more than 1 to 3 years and that it be served concurrently with his
federal sentence. Mr. Larson said Mr. Seymour expects to be released
from federal custody next October.
Mr. Larson said that although
Mr. Seymour was undoubtedly â€œan integral partâ€ of the mortgage fraud
scheme, he denied being the mastermind.