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Appeals court affirms 7½-year sentence for mortgage fraudster

Disbarred Washington lawyer Howard Shmuckler, convicted of fraud after being accused of fleecing hundreds of homeowners facing foreclosure, has struck out with efforts to cut his prison sentence and restitution order.

Shmuckler, who lived in Virginia Beach before admitting to the federal fraud charges in Alexandria federal court, ran purported mortgage modification and debt counseling businesses targeting Hispanic homeowners.

In 2010, a Fairfax County jury returned verdicts of nearly $700,000 for a woman who was scammed by Shmuckler’s companies. At the time, Shmuckler was facing more than 100 other lawsuits with similar claims.

“Mr. Shmuckler portrayed himself as a successful attorney and mortgage advisor who was able to rescue mortgages and provide relief to homeowners, but, in reality, he was a fraud,” said James W. McJunkin, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office, when Shmuckler was sentenced last summer.

Shmuckler, 69, was ordered to serve his 90-month Virginia sentence consecutive to a 75-month sentence ordered by a Washington court for a counterfeit check scheme. He also was ordered to pay $1.8 million in restitution

A panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Shmuckler’s challenge to his sentence and restitution in an unpublished opinion Thursday.

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