Pastor convicted in $6 million mortgage scam in Montco

February 26, 2013 3:08:10 PM PST
A Montgomery County pastor and a mortgage broker are each facing up to 180 years in prison for a $6 million housing scam.

Federal authorities say 47-year-old Michael Wilkerson of Pottstown, Pa., pastor of New Millennium Life Restoration Fellowship in Spring City, Pa., targeted his congregates and family to carry out the scam.

The U.S. Attorney says Wilkerson enlisted at least six people to act as straw purchasers, signing papers to buy homes in Schwenksville and Glenmoore in exchange for $15,000 payouts.

Denise Haines, 34, of Birdsboro, Pa, a mortgage broker with American Group Mortgage Corporation, then obtained loans by submitting phony applications to Chase Manhattan Bank.

After settlement, prosecutors say Wilkerson took possession of all the homes, rented some out and lived in another.

When the money all ran out, the loans went into foreclosure and the suspects' scheme was discovered.

Sentencing hearings for Wilkerson and Haines are set for June.

Sentencing hearings for two accomplices who pleaded guilty, one of whom is Wilkerson's wife, are set for April and May.

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