The Queens Village ringleader of a massive mortgage rescue scam that defrauded homeowners — many of them from the borough’s Guyanese community — and lenders out of more than $2 million in equity was sentenced last Thursday to four to 12 years in state prison, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
“In unjustly enriching himself and his accomplices of millions of dollars, the defendant created a human tragedy of immense proportions for the homeowners — many of whom were members of Queens’ Guyanese community — who had turned to him in desperate hope of saving their homes from foreclosure,” Brown said. “In light of the enormous fiscal damage the defendant has caused, the sentence imposed is a just and reasonable solution to this matter.”
Roger Huggins, 36, of 92-06 Springfield Blvd. in Queens Village, co-owned and operated a Richmond Hill company that went by various names — Home Solutions Management, Home Solutions Enterprises and Home Solutions Ltd. — and claimed to be a home foreclosure rescue company, the DA said.
He pleaded guilty Nov. 17 to grand larceny before acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Joel L. Blumenfeld, who sentenced Huggins to four to 12 years in prison, Brown said.
Huggins targeted homeowners in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx who had substantial equity in their homes but faced foreclosure because they either could not make their monthly mortgage payments or were behind on their mortgages and looked to refinance or modify their loans with their lenders, the DA said.
He offered to help the homeowners by telling them to put their title in the names of a third-party purchaser for one year in exchange for his promising them to improve their credit rating, help them obtain more favorable mortgages and then return the title to the homeowners, Brown said.
But at the closings for the homes, Huggins fabricated reasons why he needed to hold the homeowner’s funds in escrow, including the claim that the equity withdrawn from the properties would be used to pay the mortgages and expenses on the homes and to repair the homeowners’ credit, the DA said.
As part of the scheme, the DA said, Huggins had two attorneys — Trevor Rupnerain and Shawn Chand — representing lending institutions, buyers or sellers at various Home Solution property closings, Brown said.
The lawyers concealed the true nature of the transactions from their clients and distributed fraudulently obtained loans proceeds to themselves as well as to other defendants and entities on behalf of Huggins, the DA said.
The attorneys also fraudulently prepared various financial and real estate documents, Brown said.
Rupnerain pleaded guilty in March to criminal facilitation and was sentenced last week to a one-year conditional discharge, Brown said.
He also resigned from the New York State Bar, paid $50,000 in restitution and indicated that he would move to Guyana, the DA said.
Chand, who has been disbarred, pleaded guilty to grand larceny in October 2010 and was sentenced in December 2010 to five years’ probation and ordered to pay $48,833 in restitution to mortgage lenders.
Huggins, Rupnerain and Chand were three of 17 people charged with participating in the scheme, Brown said.
Of the 17, 12 have pleaded guilty, four are fugitives and one defendant’s case is pending, the DA said.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2011 Community News Group
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