White-Collar Crime

Jury Convicts Attorney in Mortgage-Fraud Case, But Acquits on 20 Charges Despite Staff Testimony

A New York real estate lawyer charged in a mortgage-fraud case has been convicted on four counts by a federal jury in Syracuse.

However, Michael G. Bouchard, 49, was acquitted on 20 additional charges Friday, despite the testimony of two cooperating paralegals who formerly worked for his law firm, reports the Albany Times Union. Paralegals Malissa Edgerton and Laurie Hinds pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges. The charges on which Bouchard was acquitted involved closing documents they prepared.

Bouchard, who has been released on bond, was convicted of conspiring to make false statements to mortgage lenders, making a false statement to a mortgage lender and two counts of aiding and abetting a bank fraud scheme. Authorities said the Albany sole practitioner handled dozens of fraudulent transactions involving inflated prices and unqualified buyers while representing two client companies that profited from the transactions unbeknownst to the lenders. The operators of the companies were previously convicted and testified against Bouchard.

“Attorneys play an important role in maintaining the integrity of the mortgage finance system,” said U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian. “We will continue to aggressively prosecute those who violate their fiduciary duty and engage in mortgage fraud.”

The Troy Record also has a story.

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