PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A federal jury heard closing arguments today in the case against a New Hope, Pa. couple charged with cheating homeowners who were facing foreclosure out of their money and their homes.

Prosecutor Nancy Rue told the jury the scheme began with Edward and Jacqueline McCusker, and John Bariana, who pleaded guilty and cooperated against the McCuskers.

“Together, they conspired to make a profit by buying homes from desperate people,” Rue told the jury today in a federal courtroom in Philadelphia.

Rue says the evidence shows they did it by fraud (see related story).

But the defense maintains that the McCuskers were out to help the homeowners, not cheat them (see related story).  Defense attorney Lyn Wescott says if Bariano cheated people, that is on him.

“I say he is a weasel. He’s not about the truth.  He is about John Bariana. One of the most despicable characteristics about some human beings is their ability to shift the blame,” she told the jury.

Bariana acknowleded on the stand that he hopes his cooperation will result in a lighter sentence for him.

Reported by Tony Hanson, KYW Newsradio 1060

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