Howard R. Shmuckler, Va. man pleads to fraud in mortgage rescues

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A Virginia Beach man has admitted to running a scheme in which he took thousands of dollars from homeowners and promised to modify their mortgages, but pocketed the money instead.

Sixty-eight-year-old Howard R. Shmuckler pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Alexandria to six counts of wire fraud.

He faces up to 20 years in prison on each count.

Sentencing has been set for June 22. Court records show Shmuckler claimed his northern Virginia mortgage-rescue business that had about 1,100 clients had a success rate of 97 percent.

He also falsely claimed he was an attorney licensed in Virginia.

He instructed clients to end contact with their mortgage companies and stop making payments to their lenders, but his company never modified the mortgages despite being paid fees ranging from $2,500 to $25,000.