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Greenville couple sentenced to federal prison

Staff Report //October 6, 2020//

Greenville couple sentenced to federal prison

Staff Report //October 6, 2020//

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A Greenville couple accused of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and equity skimming has been sentenced to federal prison.

U.S. Attorney Peter M. McCoy Jr. said in a news release that Dana Q. Roush, 40, and her husband Michael “Bubba” Roush, 56, were sentenced after being found guilty by a jury. She was sentenced to 11 year and he was given six and a half, according to the news release. They also were ordered to pay back more than $2.5 million.

“These defendants here stole more than money,” McCoy said in the news release. “They robbed their victims of the American dream. For so many South Carolinians, times are tough right now. That these two defendants exploited that difficulty to line their own pockets is reprehensible, and this office will not tolerate it. I appreciate the jury’s verdict and the sentence handed down by the judge. I am especially thankful for the hard work form our federal partners in this case.”

Evidence presented at trial showed that Dana and Bubba Roush owned and operated Kingdom Connected Investments LLC, also marketed as KCI. They marketed their company as a Christian organization and promised to create “win-win” situations for home sellers and buyers, according to the release. They sought homeowners who often owed more on their home than the property was worth, and buyers who lacked good credit could not obtain a conventional mortgage. 

KCI promised to relieve the homeowner from the burdens of mortgage payments by “buying” the home and placing a new buyer in the home who would rent-to-own, the release said. KCI promised to make all the sellers’ mortgage payments, but misled sellers to believe that they would be immediately removed from the property’s title and that they were no longer responsible for the original loan.

KCI promised the buyers an easy road to homeownership. In exchange for the down payment, the buyers were told that they were renting to own and building equity.  KCI further concealed from the buyers that a third party — the seller — had an existing mortgage on the property that KCI was responsible for paying, the release said.  

Rather than using the down payments and rents received from the buyers to pay the sellers’ mortgage payments, the Roushes used the money for personal expenses and to expand their real estate business. 

“Victims of the scheme suffered myriad injuries including loss of money, shattered dreams, and ruined credit,” according to the release, which said FBI Special Agent Matt Jacobson testified that KCI received $2.6 million from buyers and paid only $1.4 million in mortgage payments. Approximately 130 properties were involved and in only two cases did a buyer actually become a home owner.

“The fraud perpetrated by the defendants allowed them to steal millions of dollars from people who could not afford to lose any money,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jody Norris said in the release. “The victims were robbed of their life savings, their homes, and the futures they had planned.  The Special Agents from the FBI and the investigators from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) who brought these defendants to justice, should be commended for their dedication and demonstration of our resolve to fully investigate these fraudulent schemes in South Carolina.”

U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Cain sentenced Dana Roush to 136 months in federal prison, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision. He sentenced Bubba Roush to 78 months in federal prison, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system. Judge Cain also ordered the defendants to pay $2,664,796.69 in restitution.

The case was investigated by the FBI and HUD OIG. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Watkins and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Ian Conits, both of the Greenville office, prosecuted the case.