United States Attorney
District of Connecticut
Friday, June 22, 2012
Connecticut Father and Daughter Charged with Operating Fraudulent Debt Elimination Scheme
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – A federal grand jury in Hartford, Conn., has returned a 13-count indictment charging Deowraj “Deo” Buddhu, 69, and his daughter, Sunita D. Buddhu, also known as Sunita Thakur, 42, both of Wethersfield, Conn., with running a fraudulent debt elimination scheme, David B. Fein, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced today. The indictment was returned yesterday. Deowraj Buddhu and Sunita D. Buddhu have been detained since their arrests on June 11 and June 13, respectively.
“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,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “I urge all distressed homeowners to be wary of such schemes and to seek legitimate assistance for financial difficulties. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners are committed to prosecuting individuals who victimize individuals through financial fraud schemes.”
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. 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.
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.
The indictment charges both defendants with six counts of mail fraud and seven counts of passing fraudulent financial instruments. If convicted, the defendants 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.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the Wethersfield Police Department.
Citizens with information that may assist this investigation are encouraged to call 860-756-4720, 860-756-4721, or 617-994-8450.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa E. Perkins.
This case was brought in coordination with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was established to wage an aggressive and coordinated effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.
To report financial fraud crimes, and to learn more about the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, please visit www.stopfraud.gov.