Everett Pope, aka Jonathan Pincuss, 38, Bolingbrook, Illinois, and Colbi Andry, aka Richard Lockwell and Rich Ingram, 38, Chicago, Illinois, who operated various businesses at multiple Chicago area locations since at least 2009 are facing federal fraud charges for allegedly charging thousands of dollars in advance fees, purportedly to help individuals modify their existing home mortgage loans, but then failing to provide the services they promised.
The charges allege that the defendants defrauded a handful of known victims, but federal law enforcement officials believe there could be hundreds of potential victims and are appealing for information from anyone with knowledge of the alleged scheme.
The defendants were each charged with wire fraud in a criminal complaint that was in U.S. District Court. Both men were released on $10,000 unsecured bonds and have a preliminary hearing set for Nov. 13 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Mason in Federal Court.
The business entities that they allegedly used were: EAC Financial LLC; Emergency Debt Relief Center; Dimond Financial LLC; D Financial; The Andry Group, LLC; Family First Home Solutions LLC; The Law Group; Certified Forensic Loan Auditors, LLC; and Integrity Mortgage and Insurance Co., all of which were located, often at retail business sites, in Chicago or south suburban Monee or Matteson.
According to the complaint, Pope and Andry frequently convinced customers who were not experiencing financial hardship that they were eligible for loan modifications. Then, they demanded up front fees from victims, usually ranging between $2,000 and $3,000. For many of their victims, loan modifications were never completed or were completed with terms that were less favorable and without the customers’ agreement.
To perpetuate the alleged scheme, Pope and Andry have used aliases to conceal their true identities, and they have frequently changed business names to make it more difficult for dis-satisfied customers to locate them. As part of the scheme, Pope and Andry falsely represented to victims that their loan modification would be overseen by an attorney, the charges allege. At times, Pope allegedly identified himself as “attorney Jonathan Pincuss.”
After the City of Chicago and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office filed separate civil lawsuits in 2010 and 2011, respectively, against Pope, Andry, and certain business entities that were known at that time, the complaint alleges that the defendants ceased operating under those business names and started up new business entities while continuing to defraud customers.
The charges were announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert J. Shields, Jr., Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharon Fairley.
Wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or an alternative fine totaling twice the gross gain or twice the loss, whichever is greater, and restitution is mandatory. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.