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Update: More Guilty Pleas in Mortgage Scheme

Michael K. Lewis, 57, and Earnest Lewis, 52, both of Takoma Park, have pleaded guilty to charges associated with a foreclosure-prevention scheme marketed through television ads, according to an announcement from Rod J. Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland.

As reported in my earlier posting, Cheryl Brooke, 52, of Upper Marlboro, and Winston Thomas, 43, of New Carrollton, pleaded guilty this week to charges associated with the same foreclosure-prevention plan.

"Michael Lewis led a group of conspirators who stole the homeowners' equity by inducing financially vulnerable homeowners to sell their properties and convert the sale proceeds to the use of the conspirators," Rosenstein said. Michael Lewis faces a maximum sentence of 20 years on conspiracy charges and five years on bankruptcy fraud.

According to the U.S. Attorney's announcement, "Michael Lewis and Winston Thomas, a senior loan officer with a mortgage lender, told the homeowners that the 'good credit' of Earnest Lewis would be used to temporarily refinance their homes, that they had to sign their homes over to Earnest Lewis, and that they could repurchase the homes in roughly one year, or once they regained their financial footing." Earnest Lewis faces a maximum sentence of 20 years for conspiracy.

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  April 15, 2009; 5:45 PM ET
 | Tags: equity, foreclosure, foreclosure-avoidance, fraud, homeowners  
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