BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- A Bridgeport lawyer, who also lives in Maryland, was indicted along with an Easton man on charges of scheming to defraud distressed homeowners throughout the state, said U.S. Attorney for Connecticut Deirdre M. Daly.
According to the indictment, Bradford Barneys, 50, of Bridgeport, and Timothy Burke, 64, of Easton, conspired to defraud individuals, mortgage lenders and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by falsely representing to homeowners who were facing foreclosure on their homes that Burke would purchase their homes and pay off their mortgages.
The distressed homeowners agreed to sign various documents, including quitclaim deeds, indemnification agreements, management agreements and third party authorization letters, presented to them on the understanding that, by signing the documents, they would be able to walk away from their homes without the burdens of their mortgage or other costs associated with home ownership, Daly said.
Burke also told homeowners that the process of negotiating with the lenders can take time and that, in the meantime, to ignore any notices regarding foreclosure, according to court documents. After he gained control of the houses, Burke would then rent the properties to tenants by advertising the properties on craigslist.com and other means and falsely representing to tenants that he owned the property, Daly said. Barneys, acting as Bruke's attorney, met with the homeowners to reassure them about their sale, according to Daly.
Burke also failed to negotiate with the homeowners’ mortgage lender or pay expenses associated with the home, including the homeowners’ mortgages and property taxes, according to Daly. Many of the properties he purportedly purchased were ultimately foreclosed upon by the mortgage lender, the indictment said.
Burke has been charged with one count of conspiracy, five counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, one count of tax evasion, and three counts of money laundering. If convicted, Burke faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years on each count of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering; a maximum term of imprisonment of five years for tax evasion, and a mandatory, consecutive two-year term of imprisonment for aggravated identity theft.
Barneys was charged with one count of conspiracy and one count of mail fraud, each of which carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison.
Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges. Barneys was released on bond.
Individuals who believe they have been victimized by this alleged scheme are encouraged to call 860-240-9735.
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