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Indian-American father-daughter duo indicted on fraud charges

An Indian-American father-daughter duo has been arrested and charged with operating a fraudulent debt elimination scheme.

world Updated: Jun 23, 2012 13:01 IST

An Indian-American father-daughter duo has been arrested and charged with operating a fraudulent debt elimination scheme.

In a 13-count indictment Deowraj 'Deo' Buddhu, 69, and his daughter Sunita Buddhu, also known as Sunita Thakur, 42, both resident of Connecticut, have been charged with running a fraudulent debt elimination scheme.

Both have been under custody since their arrests on June 11 and June 13 respectively.

If convicted, they face a maximum term of 30 years in prison on each count of mail fraud, and a maximum term of 25 years in prison on each count of passing fraudulent financial instruments.

"It is alleged that this father and daughter preyed on struggling homeowners and defrauded them of thousands of dollars through a fictitious debt elimination scheme," US Attorney for Connecticut David Fein said.

The indictment alleges that between February 2009 and June 2012, the Buddhus, operating through various businesses, including Paradise Consulting Service, Hema Inc. and Secured Redemption, sold a debt elimination "program" to individuals whereby, in exchange for substantial fees paid to the Buddhus, victims were told about a little-known government fund that could be used to pay off their mortgages and other debts.

In fact, no such fund exists, the Justice Department said.

"Deowraj Buddhu advised victims to stop making payments on their mortgages and other debts, including property taxes. Deowraj Buddhu also provided his victims with fictitious promissory notes, as well as other frivolous documentation, which he told victims they could use to pay their debts.

"Sunita Buddhu, a licensed notary public, notarized documents provided to the victims as part of the program. Victims were directed to present the fraudulent promissory notes and other documentation to banks and other creditors," it said.

As alleged, by ceasing their mortgage payments and other obligations, victims of the Buddhus ended up in foreclosure proceedings and are at risk of losing their homes and other assets.

The indictment further alleges that the Buddhus prepared and directed victims to file frivolous lawsuits, documents, motions, and other purported legal documents with the state courts in Connecticut and elsewhere.

First Published: Jun 23, 2012 12:58 IST