By Michelle Durham
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A federal judge is handing out multi-year sentences to four men who previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy in connection with what prosecutors call a multimillion-dollar “home foreclosure rescue” scheme.
According to authorities, the financially pressed victims turned for help to DeMarco REI, a company run by one of the defendants, to negotiate a “sale/leaseback,” in which the victims thought they would be able to stay in their homes, paying rent, until they got back on their feet and were able to buy back the property.
But they wound up losing their homes instead.
The defendants — Anthony DeMarco III, Michael Roberts, Sean McBride, Eric Bascove — were each being sentenced separately, but the judge first heard from all the victims in the case.
Some tearfully spoke of losing everything they had financially in addition to, in some cases, their health or their loved ones devastated over the loss of the home.
Pittsburgh attorney Sean McBride, a title agent who worked with DeMarco REI, was sentenced to a little over five years in prison and five years’ probation.
Michael Roberts, the former vice president of sales for the company, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and five years’ probation.
Still to be sentenced was Eric Bascove, whom prosecutors say forged documents, and DeMarco, who voiced objections to the court over actions by his attorney. The judge allowed DeMarco a few hours to confer with counsel.
Stay tuned to CBS Philly.com for updates to this story when they are received.