Owner of Money Store in Maryland Convicted of Fraud

John Merchant, CPA, CFE

The Federal Bureau of Investigation reports that Joy Jackson of Greenbelt, Maryland has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison and ordered to make restitution for nearly $17 million in losses created by a fraudulent scheme that she ran through her company, Metropolitan Money Store of Lanham, Maryland.  According to the FBI report, Jackson took advantage of the current economic downturn to prey on desperate homeowners who had significant amounts of equity in their homes but lacked sufficient cash flow to make their monthly mortgage payments.

Jackson’s company promised to help distressed homeowners avoid losing their homes to foreclosure and restore their impaired personal credit ratings. Homeowners were instructed to allow title to their homes to be transferred to third parties to allow Metropolitan Money Store to find more favorable mortgages and improve credit histories over a period of approximately one year.  In reality, Jackson used the title transfer scheme to draw the equity out of the homes, obtain financing through fraudulent loan applications, charge large fees to the homeowners and transfer funds to bank accounts that made the money available for the personal use of Jackson and various people involved with her in the scheme.

The FBI further reports that the funds obtained through this fraud were used by Jackson and others to finance kickbacks to a real estate closing agent, pay for air travel and jewelry and to cover gambling expenses.  Perhaps the most brazen use of the funds occurred when Jackson siphoned off nearly $800,000 to pay for her wedding.

To read more about Joy Jackson and Metropolitan Money Store, see http://baltimore.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel09/ba111609a.htm.

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