Phoenixville Pastor Convicted of Mortgage Fraud

A pastor with New Millennium Life Restoration Fellowship was convicted today of fraudulently obtaining more than $6 million in home loans for properties in Schwenksville and Glenmoore.

A former Montgomery County pastor is facing up to 180 years in prison, after he was convicted of mortgage fraud earlier Tuesday in federal court.

Michael Wilkerson, 47, of Pottstown, along with Denise Haines, 43, of Birdboro, were convicted of devising a scheme to defraud the former Chase Manhattan Bank by fraudulently obtaining $6 million in home loans for properties in Schwenksville and Glenmoore.

Wilkerson, whose church – New Millennium Life Restoration Fellowship – has locations in Phoenixville and Spring City, recruited several of his congregants and their families to act as "straw purchasers" for a number of real estate transactions. So long as the congregants signed the loan documents and attended the property settlement, Wilkerson would pay them $15,000 – plus an additional $5,000 is they could refer another person to participate in the scheme.

Haines, who was employed as a mortgage broker with American Group Mortgage Corporation, would then knowingly submit fraudulent loan applications in the mortgage transactions with Chase Manhattan Bank, falsifying the appraised value of the properties, as well as the "straw purchaser's" assets and income. In doing so, Haines knew Chase Manhattan would approve the loans with minimal verification.

Once the loans were funded at the time of settlement, those involved in the scheme would manipulate the documents to appear as though the "straws" brought a large down-payment to closing. On the contrary, the money involved at settlement had actually come from Chase Manhattan, which the convicted then shared.

Wilkerson's wife, Joyce, pleaded guilty to assisting in the scheme by writing out checks to the "straws" and posing as a co-purchaser at the time of settlement. Additionally, Lee Garell, a real estate broker who also pleaded guilty, prepared the sales paperwork and, along with Wilkerson, dictated the fraudulent terms in the settlement sheets.

After the settlement on the homes had wrapped up, Wilkerson took possession of all of the homes. The release states that he rented at least two of them while living in another. Mortgages were all paid with money from the scheme, as well as the rental income, until Wilkerson told the "straws" that they needed to pay their own mortgages. At that point, the loans fell into default, and then forclosure, resulting in a loss of roughly $3 million.

Wilkerson is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg on June 3, and Haines is scheduled to be sentenced on June 17.

Both face a maximum of 180 years in prison, five years of supervised release and fines up to $6 million.

Dead Horse Beater February 26, 2013 at 08:40 PM
Oh man, for a second I thought it was going to be a certain well known priest from the area turned retirement home builder, and got all excited. But I guess shady business dealings is a trait in quite a few local religious "leaders".
patchsux February 27, 2013 at 01:02 AM
and they call him father how funny is that.
Joe Smith February 27, 2013 at 10:23 AM
He role model was the friggen pope!!!!!!! hahahhah lets all do the down low together after mass!!!!!!
Joe Smith February 27, 2013 at 10:35 AM
Isn't it funny most priests in this area are involved in something which is usually against the law. ( Unless your role model is the catholic church) Priests were getting their lickings and anal jobs from little boys in this town for at least 45 years. That is no secret unless your head is buried in some priests lap. Is a weekly down low against the law? No. But it sure is sick. In case you all don't know, this is what the big deal is all about over in Rome. And in case you really are out of touch with reality a down low is when a bunch of so called men get together(usually respected people of the community, often black but not all the time, and have sex with each other ( that would be anal up the rectum kind) This is what the big deal is all about in pope land. The dufus pope can't even leave the Vatican or he will get locked up with other scum bags.
larry sinister February 27, 2013 at 11:54 AM
Yeah molesting priests should die painfully, but the decent ones shouldn't have to suffer for them. So before you small minded bigots go too far off topic, which you are, why not discuss the fringe church leader who just made things more expensive for everyone by committing fraud in the name of the lord? Won't one of you allege he is a minority? Will one of you bright, informed lights attack Mr. Finster about his boy touching? It does seem you folks know a lot about deviant sex parties in town. Any of you scout leaders or ymca janitors?
larry sinister February 27, 2013 at 11:55 AM
And Fr. EVANS is the antichrist.
Here and Now February 27, 2013 at 01:45 PM
nobody cares what you thought
larry sinister February 27, 2013 at 02:27 PM
So, anyway, are the congregants also going to be charged?
harry finster February 27, 2013 at 04:19 PM
well finally a white collar crime by a black guy in phoenixville ,not the usual low life crime
John February 27, 2013 at 04:45 PM
Harry, how many children did you molest last night you sick freak?
Compassionate Conservative February 27, 2013 at 04:54 PM
How is he going to drive that Lexus and that Escalade from prison? http://www.stopfraud.gov/iso/opa/stopfraud/PAE-110929.html http://media.philly.com/images/600*450/20111030_inq_spastor30-b.JPG
harry finster February 27, 2013 at 07:42 PM
are you really the original harry?
Joan Welliver February 27, 2013 at 10:58 PM
You people are simply crazy to speak of any religious institution like that. It's the person who sins, not the religion!!!!!!!!!!!!
harry finster February 28, 2013 at 04:01 AM
if you have a phony religion that causes people to function improperly then the religion does sin
Joe Smith February 28, 2013 at 04:15 PM
that so called religion called the catholick church should be shut down under RICO laws just like we do with the mafia, as a corrupt organization. And all you catholicks out there who still give money and time to that perverted organization are just as sick as the pope who did nothing and covered things up and now has to live in a prison like setting set up by his own church!!!!!!!!! hahhaahhah this is better then monica and bill !!!!
Dead Horse Beater February 28, 2013 at 04:19 PM
OMG Joe you are so idiotic. I really hope you haven't yet reproduced.
Joe Smith February 28, 2013 at 04:19 PM
that religion is corrupt and should be indicted under RICO no wonder they still get away with anal sex in the rectumary oh I ment rectory you people still think all is cool, its just a few people........well it was covered up by the top now (POPE) so if you don't get it now, then you should be charged with child endangerment if you let your kids anywhere near one of these so called churches
larry sinister March 03, 2013 at 05:18 PM
Joe, do you feel rejected because the priests never winked at you, causing you to self loathe and give anal away for free?


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something