Barrington Coombs, 58, Weston, Florida, was sentenced to serve a year and a day in prison for his role in a foreclosure rescue scheme that victimized desperate homeowners on the brink of losing their homes. Coombs was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra in the Southern District of Florida.
convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and
one count of wire fraud, following a two-week jury trial in July 2012.
According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial, two of Coombs' accomplices, Lisa Wright and Cathy Saffer, operated Foreclosure Solution Specialists (FSS) from 2006 to 2009. FSS
targeted homeowners facing foreclosure, advertising that it could
assist those homeowners in remaining in their homes. When contacted by
distressed homeowners seeking assistance, FSS misrepresented to those homeowners that their homes would be sold to investors.
According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial, FSS
also claimed that customers could remain in their homes after the sales
and promised them an opportunity to repurchase the homes at a later
date. Rather than selling the homes to legitimate investors, FSS designed sham sales to straw purchasers whom they paid to participate in the scheme.
According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial, FSS paid Certified Public Accountant Barrington Coombs to write a fraudulent letter that vouched for the false information on various loan applications. Lenders relied on Coombs' fraudulent letter in deciding to fund the loans.
Coombs is the last member of the scheme to be sentenced. In November 2012, the two individuals who operated FSS were sentenced. Lisa Wright was sentenced to a 66 month term of imprisonment, while Cathy Saffer received a sentence of 60 months.
Mortgage transactions completed by FSS drew equity out of the homes, which FSS' principals pocketed for their own purposes. After doing so, FSS
allowed the loans to go into foreclosure. Homeowners ultimately lost
all of the equity in their homes, and most of the victims were forced to
move out of their homes.