EASTON, Conn. — A 65-year-old former Easton man will serve nine years behind bars for defrauding distressed homeowners facing foreclosure and evading taxes, federal prosecutors said.
Timothy W. Burke was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford to 108 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, said U.S. Attorney for Connecticut Deirdre M. Daly.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from 2010 to November 2015, Burke engaged in a scheme to defraud individuals, mortgage lenders and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In the scheme, he falsely represented to homeowners who were in, or facing, foreclosure on their homes that he would purchase their homes and pay off their mortgages.
The homeowners agreed to sign various documents, including quitclaim deeds, indemnification agreements, management agreements and third party authorization letters, which Burke presented to them.
They believed that by signing the documents, they would be able to walk away from their homes without the burdens of their mortgage or other costs associated with home ownership.
He also told homeowners to ignore any notices regarding foreclosure. Burke then rented out the properties to tenants via craigslist.com and told tenants that he owned the property.
Burke or one of his agents collected rent from tenants, in person, and Burke used the funds for his own benefit.
He failed to negotiate with the homeowners’ mortgage lender or pay expenses associated with the home, including the homeowner’s mortgages and property taxes, and he did not pay any collected rental income to the homeowners.
Many of the properties Burke purportedly purchased were ultimately foreclosed upon by the mortgage lenders.
He made extensive efforts to disguise his true identity from his victims through the use of multiple aliases and business entities.
Dozens of distressed homeowners, property renters and mortgage lenders were victimized by his scheme.
Judge Shea will determine the amount that Burke will be ordered to pay in restitution after further court proceedings.
In addition, from 1994 to 2012, Burke evaded paying $403,726 in federal taxes and now owes the IRS more than $1 million in back taxes, interest and penalties.
He has been detained since his arrest Nov. 19, 2015. On Jan. 24, he pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of tax evasion.