A Hamilton man faces 22 charges in what federal prosecutors say was a scheme that falsely promised distressed homeowners companies could help save their houses from foreclosure.
Lorin K. Buckner, 62, was among 11 people charged in the case, in which a Cincinnati-based federal grand jury indicted them March 6. The indictment was not unsealed until Wednesday. Others charged included Garrett Stevenson, 41, of Cincinnati, a Gahanna man, and several others from the East Coast.
Buckner faces 22 charges, including mail fraud, wire fraud, bankruptcy fraud and aggravated identity theft.
A Cincinnati-based federal judge in February fined Buckner, who also is known as Lorin-Kal Buckner, as having filed a “vexatious” $2 million federal lawsuit accusing Butler County Common Pleas Judge Noah Powers of “criminal treason,” along with other unusual allegations.
There were more than 50 victims in the Southern District of Ohio between 2013 and 2018, prosecutors said.
The indictment states that some co-conspirators mailed more than 22,000 postcards in the Southern District of Ohio and elsewhere promising that they could “stop foreclosure” or “stop the sheriff sale” for a fixed fee. Co-conspirators also reached out to homeowners through Craigslist ads, websites, emails and social media platforms.
“These programs were fraudulent,” said U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman. “The defendants performed virtually no negotiations on behalf of the homeowners and never successfully purchased a mortgage note or provided a new, lower-cost mortgage. They never removed a mortgage lien or performed short sales as advertised.”
Jennifer Thornton, a spokeswoman for Glassman’s office, said Buckner faces one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud; three counts of mail fraud; seven counts of wire fraud; nine counts of bankruptcy fraud; one count of bank fraud; and one county of aggravated identity theft.
The defendants allegedly filed what prosecutors called “skeletal bankruptcy petitions.” The petitions intentionally failed to disclose the co-conspirators had prepared them, the attorneys said. Instead, they and named the homeowners as having filed them and were representing themselves.
In 2014 alone, one defendant allegedly prepared and filed petitions for 30 homeowners without their knowledge, including four homeowners in southern Ohio.
People who believe they were victims of this fraud are asked to contact the FBI at CIForeclosure@fbi.gov or 513-421-4310.
Denise Callahan contributed
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