BOSTON – A former Massachusetts attorney and his wife pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston in connection with various mortgage fraud schemes.
Barry Wayne Plunkett Jr., 61, and Nancy Plunkett, 56, both of Hyannis Port, pleaded guilty to five counts of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Barry Wayne Plunkett Jr. also pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf scheduled sentencing for June 10, 2022. The Plunketts were indicted in July 2020.
Prior to being disbarred in October 2017, Barry Wayne Plunkett Jr. owned and operated the Plunkett Law Firm where his wife, Nancy Plunkett, was his office assistant and paralegal.
The defendants engaged in several bank fraud schemes. In one scheme, from September 2012 to July 2016, the defendants defrauded six mortgage lenders and 14 homeowners for whom the Plunkett Law Firm handled the closings for new mortgage loans to refinance residential properties. The defendants informed the mortgage lenders that pre-existing mortgages were paid off from the new loan proceeds when, in fact, the Plunketts intentionally failed to pay off the prior liens and instead converted more than $900,000 in payoff funds for their own purposes.
In other bank fraud schemes – between April 2015 and March 2018 – the Plunketts fraudulently used various names, entities and false documents to obtain three successive mortgage loans on their home in Hyannis Port in amounts of $412,000, $470,000 and $1.2 million. The defendants pledged as collateral a property in Hyannis Port that was held in a family trust for which Barry Wayne Plunkett Jr. was one of three beneficiaries. Both defendants participated in providing false documents to the lenders, including false title reports and other records to falsely represent that the property was free and clear of existing mortgage liens and forged documents in the names of other people. The defendants also made misrepresentations to a lender that Nancy Plunkett was a single woman living in Wellesley who was purchasing the property in her maiden name as a business investment when, in fact, the defendants had been married since 2014 and the property was their residence.
The charge of bank fraud provides for a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of tax evasion provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of aggravated identity theft provides for a mandatory two-year sentence to be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; and Joleen D. Simpson, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Victor A. Wild and Mackenzie Queenin, of Rollins’ Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit, and Carol Head, Chief of Rollins’ Asset Recovery Unit, are prosecuting the case.