Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has announced that the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) and Marathon County District Attorney’s Office have charged two Wausau mortgage brokers with fraud related to their roles in a “buy back” real estate scheme. Jay S. Fischer and James L. Dupuis are each charged, as party to a crime, with one count of Fraud Against a Financial Institution and one count of Fraudulent Writings. Three companies owned and operated by Fischer and Dupuis were also charged: Home In One Mortgage and Real Estate Network (d/b/a Home In One); Valley Title Inc.; and Wellcome Home Services LLC.
The charges were the result of an investigation by the Marathon County DA’s office, in conjunction with Wisconsin Department of Justice and the Department of Financial Institutions. According to the complaint, a homeowner went to Home In One in 2006 seeking to refinance but instead was induced to enter into a “buy back” transaction. Under the scheme, the homeowner would sell her home to Fischer but retain the right to repurchase, guaranteed by an “option” filed on her behalf. According to the complaint, however, no “option” was ever filed and loan documents reveal inconsistencies between what was disclosed to the lender, what was disclosed to the homeowner and what actually took place. For example, there are two settlement statements related to the sale—one provided to the lender showing the homeowner earned $24,188.58 in equity from the sale of her home, the other provided to the homeowner showing what was really paid, $2,679.53. In addition, Wellcome Home Services,= LLC earned $6,000 from the sale, but this was never disclosed to the lender. The complaint further alleges that Fischer’s loan application listed an income that was inflated by nearly $120,000 compared to tax records filed with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.
“The Department of Justice has zero tolerance for mortgage fraud in this state and is committed to working with local and national law enforcement to prosecute such schemes,” Attorney General Van Hollen said. “Schemes like these harm not only the individuals and financial entities involved, but the community at large.”
Upon conviction, the defendants face maximum possible penalties of 16 years in imprisonment and fines up to $35,000.
For more information, visit www.doj.state.wi.us.