United States v. White, No. 11-3240 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
White, Ford, and Helton were involved in a mortgage fraud scheme through White’s company, EHNS. EHNS offered a “mortgage bailout” program, telling homeowners that they could avoid foreclosure by transferring their homes to EHNS for one year, that EHNS investors would pay the mortgage, that the owners could continue to live in their homes, and that they could reassume their mortgages at the program’s conclusion. EHNS investors actually took title outright. White would pressure appraisers to assess the properties at amounts higher than actual value. EHNS would strip actual and manufactured equity by transaction fees. Clients almost never were able to buy back their homes. Lenders foreclosed on many of the properties. Through fraudulent mortgage loan applications, White obtained financing for straw purchasers. Ford was the closing agent, supposed to act as the lender’s representative, but actually fabricating official documents. Helton was the attorney and “represented” homeowners at White’s behest, pocketing legal fees paid out of the equity proceeds and orchestrating a cover‐up by representing the homeowners in subsequent bankruptcy filings. All were convicted of multiple counts of wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1343; Helton was also convicted of bankruptcy fraud, 18 U.S.C. 157. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting claims concerning the sufficiency of the evidence, challenges to joinder of the defendants and to jury instructions, and a Brady claim.