The broker-owner of a bankrupt mortgage company pleaded guilty Wednesday afternoon to mail fraud charges in federal court in Harrisburg. His attorney says he is "not a bad guy" despite the loss of millions of dollars of missing or stolen money - and placing over 800 borrowers in deep mortgage debt.
Wesley Snyder, 71, owner of Personal Financial Management (and five other companies) hid his mortgage scheme and pocketed millions of dollars while his company went into crushing debt.
Prosecutors alleged that Snyder and many of his employees at Personal Financial Management Inc.'s offices in Reading (Berks County) and Lancaster had used the enticement of lower interest rates to persuade hundreds of homeowners to borrow, from outside banks, more than they actually needed for their mortgages. The extra money was handed over to Snyder to invest or to pay ahead on their mortgage.
Then one of his companies would write another mortgage with the borrowers for the amount they had originally sought. Snyder -- and his employees -- repeatedly promised that the company - and not the borrowers - was only responsible for paying off the extra amount. They said that the borrowers' "real mortgage" was with Snyder.
Over 800 families have lost millions of dollars with Snyder's Ponzi scheme.
Snyder took in $65 million over 19 years but only paid out $39 million to banks that are involved. There is no explanation as to where the missing $26 million dollars is. The Personal Financial customers are suddenly left with higher mortgages and increased debt. Some may lose their homes to foreclosure.
Snyder declined to speak with reporters on Wednesday. Prosecutors and Snyder's attorney are discussing a prison sentence in the range of 7 to 13 years. Snyder remained free pending sentencing in March.