A Greenville, South Carolina couple will be spending several years in federal prison after they scammed hundreds in a rent-to-own scheme, U.S. Attorney for South Carolina Peter McCoy announced Monday.
Dana Q. Roush, 40, and her husband Michael “Bubba” Roush, 56, were sentenced to a total of 17 years after a jury found them both guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and equity skimming.
Dana Roush will spend 11 years behind bars while her husband will do 6 years in federal prison.
The couple was also ordered to pay back more than $2.5 million in restitution.
Dana and Bubba Roush owned and operated Kingdom Connected Investments, LLC (“KCI”).
The company’s Facebook page says KCI is “a driven company, dedicated to bringing good, hard-working people to beautiful homes, helping sellers and investors!”
“They marketed their company as a Christian organization and promised to create “win-win” situations for home sellers and buyers,” the news release from McCoy’s office said. “They sought homeowners who often owed more on their home than the property was worth, and buyers who lacked good credit and thus could not obtain a conventional mortgage.”
In the scam, the Roushes’ company made false promises to both the home seller and the buyer. They’d promise to make the sellers’ mortgage payments and “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.”
On KCI’s Facebook page, they appeared to be marketing toward people with bad or no credit. “When the banks say no, we say yes,” one post said.
“KCI promised the buyers an easy road to homeownership,” the US attorney’s news release said. “In exchange for the down payment (typically ten percent of the purchase price), the buyers were told that they were renting-to-own and building up 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.”
But instead of using the money from clients to pay the sellers’ mortgages, Bubba and Dana Roush “used the money for personal expenses and to expand their real estate business.”
The sellers were surprised to receive foreclosure notes, according to the release.
“They learned that KCI, despite having a renter in the home, had stopped paying on the mortgage,” the US attorney’s news release said. “Buyers often learned they had no real ownership interest when the home was purchased by a third-party at a foreclosure sale and the new owner started eviction proceedings.”
They scammed sellers and buyers at approximately 130 properties. In court, FBI agent Matt Jacobson said that KCI received $2.6 million from buyers and only paid $1.4 million in mortgage payment.”
According to the indictment (below), the Roushes scammed homeowners from 2013 through 2018.
“These defendants here stole more than money. They robbed their victims of the American dream,” said U.S. Attorney McCoy. “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.”
United States District Judge Timothy M. Cain presided over the case. On top of their sentence, the couple will have to pay a $2,664,796.69 in restitution.
The FBI, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Office of Inspector General investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Watkins and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Ian Conits prosecuted the case.
“The fraud perpetrated by the defendants allowed them to steal millions of dollars from people who could not afford to lose any money,” FBI agent Jody Norris said. “The victims were robbed of their life savings, their homes, and the futures they had planned.”
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