The United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) announced this past week that two Ohio men were sentenced to lengthy prison terms for ripping off hundreds of struggling homeowners and stealing approximately $1.1 million through a massive loan modification scam.

The main defendant, Jason J. Keating, 38, of Toledo was sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay $1.1 million in restitution

His co-defendant, Christopher J. Howder, 40, of Perrysburg, was sentenced to seven years in prison and ordered to pay $561,000 in restitution.

The defendants had pleaded guilty this past year to charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and multiple counts of mail fraud and wire fraud.

According to court documents filed in the case, Keating and Howard formed the company, Making Home Affordable USA (MHAUSA) and used other company aliases, where Keating acted as the president and Howder was the underwriting manager.

The company had falsely reported that they had a very high success rate and that customers could get loan modifications with as low as 2 percent interest rate. They told prospective clients that there was a flat fee for their service that was from $495 and $795.

The victims were advised to stop making monthly mortgage payments to their lenders and instead to pay a percentage of their payments to MHAUSA. The defendants further lied to the victims by saying that their payments would be held in a “stimulus reserve” and after they received loan modifications, the money would be sent to the lenders.

Instead, both Keating and Howard used the cash for personal use to live the rich lifestyle by spending the money at professional sports venues, restaurants, cash withdrawals, gentlemen’s clubs, a tanning salon, a Las Vegas hotel, a jewelry store and a lingerie store.

“These defendants took more than $1 million from people struggling to hold onto their homes,” Sierleja said.

“They used money obtained through fraud to pay for expensive restaurants and vacations,” Anthony said.

The defendants had pleaded guilty this past year to charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and multiple counts of mail fraud and wire fraud.

Acting U.S. Attorney David A. Sierleja and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland office made the announcement.

The investigating agency in this case is the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General. The case was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Gene Crawford.

Moe Bedard
My name is Maurice "Moe" Bedard. I am the founder of America's #1 Mortgage Forum, LoanSafe.org. My online work has been featured in the New York Times, LA Times, Fox Business, and many other media publications.