Federal Jury Convicts Wethersfield Resident Of Running Fraudulent Debt Elimination Scheme
Deirdre M. Daly, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal jury in Hartford has found DEOWRAJ “DEO” BUDDHU, 70, formerly of Wethersfield, guilty of multiple charges related to his operation of a fraudulent debt elimination scheme. The trial before Chief United States District Judge Alvin W. Thompson began on June 5 and the jury returned its verdict this afternoon after deliberating for less than one hour.
“This defendant’s fictitious debt elimination scheme defrauded numerous struggling homeowners, many of whom were immigrants with little command of the English language,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Daly. “He took thousands of dollars from his victims, knowing it would make their unsteady financial situation even worse, and used the funds to pay his own personal expenses. All distressed homeowners must steer clear of such schemes and seek legitimate assistance for financial difficulties. I want to thank IRS – Criminal Investigation and HUD-OIG for their work on this case, and our other law enforcement partners who are committed to prosecuting individuals who victimize individuals through financial fraud schemes.”
According to the evidence introduced during the trial and statements made during prior court proceedings, between February 2009 and June 2012, BUDDHU sold a debt elimination “program” to several vulnerable individuals through various businesses, including Paradise Consulting Service, Hema, Inc., and Secured Redemption. In exchange for substantial fees, BUDDHU told victims about a little-known government fund that could be used to pay off their mortgages and other debts. In fact, no such fund exists. BUDDHU advised victims to stop making payments on their mortgages and other debts, including property taxes. He also provided his victims with fictitious promissory notes, which he called “bonds,” as well as other frivolous documentation, which he told victims they could use to pay their debts. BUDDHU’s daughter, Sunita Buddhu, a licensed notary public, notarized documents provided to the victims as part of the program. Victims were directed to present the fraudulent promissory notes and other documentation to banks and other creditors.
By ceasing their mortgage payments and other obligations, BUDDHU’s victims ended up in foreclosure proceedings and are at risk of losing their homes and other assets.
BUDDHU also prepared and directed victims to file frivolous lawsuits, documents, motions, and other purported legal documents with the state courts in Connecticut and elsewhere.
The jury found BUDDHU guilty of six counts of mail fraud and seven counts of issuing, selling and presenting fictitious financial instruments. Chief Judge Thompson has scheduled sentencing for September 17, 2013, at which time BUDDHU faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years on each count of mail fraud, and a maximum term of imprisonment of 25 years on each count of passing fraudulent financial instruments.
BUDDHU has been detained since his arrest on June 11, 2012.
On October 10, 2012, Sunita Buddhu, 43, pleaded guilty to one count of issuing, selling and presenting fictitious financial instruments. She has been detained since her arrest on June 13, 2012 and also awaits sentencing.
This matter was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the Wethersfield Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lisa Perkins and Liam Brennan.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants.
To report financial fraud crimes, and to learn more about the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, please visit www.stopfraud.gov.
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