Mortgage Rescue Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Fraud
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Howard R. Shmuckler, 68, of Virginia Beach, Va., today pled guilty to running a fraudulent mortgage-rescue business that received substantial fees but actually modified clients’ mortgages in only a few cases.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Jon T. Rymer, Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC-OIG); and Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP); made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.
Shmuckler pled guilty today to six counts of wire fraud, which each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Sentencing has been scheduled for June 22, 2012.
According to the statement of facts filed in court, Shmuckler owned and operated a Vienna, Va. mortgage-rescue business known as The Shmuckler Group (TSG). According to TGS’s website, TSG had approximately 1,100 clients. Shmuckler misrepresented that TSG had a success rate of 97 percent and falsely portrayed himself as an attorney licensed in Virginia. Based on these representations made by Shmuckler or client recruiters to induce potential clients to sign up for TSG services, TSG’s clients provided the company with fees ranging from $2,500 to $25,000 to help modify the terms of their mortgages.
Court records indicate that Shmuckler instructed clients to terminate contact with their mortgage companies and to stop making payments to their lenders. TSG never facilitated a modification of the mortgages referenced in the statement of facts.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the FDIC-OIG, and SIGTARP. Assistant United States Attorneys Timothy D. Belevetz and Uzo Asonye are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.