Toledo-area men sentenced to prison for $1.1 million fraud scheme

Toledo-area men sentenced to prison for $1.1 million fraud scheme

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Two Toledo-area men were sentenced to prison for stealing more than $1.1 million from hundreds of people in a loan-modification scheme.

Jason Keating, 38, of Toledo and Christopher Howder, 40, of Perrysburg pleaded guilty last year to charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

The men acted as president and manager of Making Home Affordable USA (MHAUSA). According to court documents, homeowners were told the company had a very high rate of success and that customers could achieve modified interest rates as low as two percent.

The victims were told to stop making monthly mortgage payments to their lenders and pay a percentage of the payment to MHAUSA instead. The money was supposed to be held in a "stimulus reserve" account until the loans were modified.

However, the money was spent at professional sports venues, restaurants, gentlemen's clubs, cash withdrawals, a hotel, a tanning salon, a lingerie store and a jewelry store.

"These defendants took more than $1 million from people struggling to hold onto their homes," Acting U.S. Attorney David A. Sierleja said.

Keating was sentenced to nine years in prison while Howder was sentenced to seven years. The two will also need to pay more than $1.5 million in restitution.

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