Multi-level marketing scheme ensnared nearly 800 ‘desperate homeowners’ facing foreclosure, prosecutors say

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It was an alluring offer for homeowners facing foreclosure — in exchange for a fee, they would be able to keep their homes and have their mortgage payments reduced or even eliminated altogether.

But the pitch — which would curiously arrive in the mail just after a bank had sent its first foreclosure warning — was a scam, prosecutors said. It was all part of a nationwide, multi-level marketing scheme that preyed on “vulnerable, financially-distressed and desperate homeowners.”

Last week, 66-year-old Lorin Kal Buckner, of Hamilton, Ohio, and 59-year-old Dessalines Sealy, of Brooklyn, New York, two key members of the group running the scam, were found guilty by a federal jury in Cincinnati of suckering nearly 800 people around the country out of their money and seriously damaging their future efforts to seek bankruptcy protection.

Two others, Joel Harvey, 40, and Garrett Stevenson, 45, both of Cincinnati, pleaded guilty during the trial. Nine other defendants have also been charged in the case.

“The defendants took advantage of folks’ financial despair and emotional vulnerabilities to fill their own pockets,” said Kenneth Parker, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of Ohio.

Buckner and Sealy, who represented themselves at trial, didn’t respond to messages seeking comment. An attorney for Harvey had no comment and a lawyer for Stevenson didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

Prosecutors said the group operated the venture from 2013 until they were indicted in 2019 as a multi-level marketing scheme, enticing salespeople to help lure in struggling homeowners in exchange for commissions. The scheme operated under a variety of names like MVP Home Solutions, Stay In or Walk Away, Bolden Pinnacle Group, Home Advisory Services Network, Home Advisory Services Group and the Silverstein & Wolf Corp.

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1 comment

  1. When the pitch is too good to be true, it usually is and people lose money. MLMs are not a viable business plan and for many people a source of pain and potential financial ruin.

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