Score:   1
Docket Number:   WD-WI  3:19-cr-00133
Case Name:   United States of America v. Wood Aston et al
  Press Releases:


MADISON, WIS. – Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Aston Wood, 56, New Richmond, Wisconsin and Miami, Florida, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to 12 years in federal prison for a mortgage rescue scheme that defrauded more than 70 Wisconsin homeowners. Wood pleaded guilty to wire fraud and bankruptcy fraud on January 6, 2020.



U.S. Attorney Blader was joined in making the announcement by Robert E. Hughes, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Milwaukee Field Office; Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office of IRS Criminal Investigation; Catherine Huber, Special Agent in Charge, Central Region, Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General; and Patrick S. Layng, United States Trustee for Region 11.

At the sentencing, Judge Peterson called the defendant a professional conman, said that this was “a particularly heartless crime,” and told the defendant that his crime “stands apart from anything I’ve come across in my six years on the bench.” 

Between 2014 and 2019, Wood defrauded more than 70 Wisconsin homeowners out of approximately $390,000.  Many homeowners unfortunately lost their homes in connection with the scheme.  Using the names ASC Financial, LLC and Maywood Capital II, LLC, Wood solicited people facing the possibility of foreclosure and represented to them that he could help them stay in their home by obtaining loan refinancing or modification.  He told customers that to stop foreclosures, they needed to immediately begin making mortgage payments towards a new loan as part of a trial period while he worked out the details of the loan with the mortgage lenders.  Wood instructed customers to make these mortgage payments to businesses he controlled under the premise that he would forward the payments to the customers’ mortgage lenders. 

Wood was able to collect mortgage payments from homeowners for months, even years, by falsely reassuring them that their payments were going to their mortgage lenders and that new loans were being finalized.  In fact, Wood’s bank records confirmed he deposited the customers’ mortgage payments and spent their money on his own travel and living expenses.  When customers eventually lost their homes in foreclosure, Wood told them that it was due to the mortgage lenders’ greed or negligence. 

Wood defrauded some homeowners out of additional money even after they lost their homes by falsely telling them that he would use the money to help them buy back their foreclosed property or use the money to sue the mortgage companies. 

As part of his fraud scheme, Wood advised many customers to file bankruptcy in the Western District of Wisconsin.  The automatic stay triggered by the bankruptcy filings temporarily stalled the foreclosures, which extended the time in which Wood could collect the monthly mortgage payments.  In November 2016, the U.S. Trustee’s Office began investigating Wood and in October 2017, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Catherine J. Furay issued an injunction permanently barring Wood from soliciting, offering to perform, or performing services relating to mortgage foreclosure and debt relief.  Despite the court order, however, Wood continued to engage in mortgage rescue fraud under a new business name. 

U.S. Attorney Blader praised the work of the U.S. Trustee’s Office and the law enforcement agents who investigated the criminal case.  U.S. Attorney Blader also urged Wisconsin residents to be alert to this type of fraud. 

The following are tips to avoid being a victim of mortgage fraud schemes from the U.S. Department of Treasury and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development:  

Beware of anyone seeking to charge you in advance for mortgage modification services.  In most cases, charging fees in advance of a mortgage modification is illegal.

Only your mortgage company has the discretion to grant a loan modification. Therefore, no third party can guarantee or pre-approve your mortgage modification application.

Beware of individuals and companies claiming that your payments should be sent to an alternate contact or address that is different from the information in your mortgage statement.

Beware of individuals or companies that offer money-back guarantees or insist on upfront fees and can only accept payment by cash, cashier's check, or wire transfer.

Beware of private individuals claiming to be affiliated with government-backed refinancing programs. 

For additional information, see https://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/get-answers/Pages/get-answers-how-avoid-scams.aspx.

The charges against Wood were the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the Office of the United States Trustee.  The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith P. Duchemin. 



MADISON, WIS. -- A federal grand jury in the Western District of Wisconsin, sitting in Madison, returned the following indictments today.  You are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

New Richmond Man Charged with Mortgage Fraud Scheme

Aston Wood, 55, New Richmond, Wisconsin, is charged with four counts related to an alleged mortgage fraud scheme.  The indictment charges that Wood engaged in a scheme to defraud from September 2015 to July 2019.  He is charged with one count of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, one count of bankruptcy fraud, and one count of criminal contempt of court. 

The indictment alleges that Wood represented to owners of homes in foreclosure that he could help them stay in their home by obtaining refinancing or modification of their mortgage, and that he instructed customers to make monthly mortgage payments towards a new or modified loan in an amount he selected, payable to him or to a limited liability company of which he was the sole member.  The indictment alleges that rather than remit the payments to lenders as promised, Wood instead deposited the payments in bank accounts he controlled and used the funds for his own personal expenses.

The indictment further alleges that Wood offered to help some customers buy back their foreclosed property, and he continued to solicit and receive funds from customers or their families based on false representations that the funds would be used to repurchase the property.   In addition, the indictment alleges that Wood told some customers to file for bankruptcy to stall foreclosure proceedings, which allowed Wood to delay detection and continue collecting monthly mortgage payments from customers.      

The fourth count of the indictment alleges that Wood disobeyed a lawful order of a Court of the United States, an injunction issued on October 24, 2017, by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Catherine J. Furay in the Western District of Wisconsin, which permanently enjoined Wood from soliciting customers, offering to perform, and performing services related to mortgage foreclosure and debt relief. 



If convicted, Wood faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on both the wire fraud charge and the mail fraud charge, and five years on the bankruptcy fraud charge.  The criminal contempt of court charge has no maximum penalty; the penalty is at the Court’s discretion. 

The charges against Wood are the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office acknowledges the assistance of the Office of the U.S. Trustee.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith Duchemin is handling the prosecution. 

Clark County Man Charged with Methamphetamine Crime

Keith Strong, 49, Thorp, Wisconsin, is charged with possessing 50 grams or more of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.  The indictment alleges that he possessed the methamphetamine on June 30, 2019.

If convicted, Strong faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison.  The charge against him is the result of an investigation by the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Chadwick Elgersma is handling the prosecution. 

Middleton Man Charged with Distributing Cocaine

Cameron A. Bates, 30, Middleton, Wisconsin, is charged with five counts of distributing cocaine.  The indictment alleges that he distributed cocaine on five occasions in July and August 2019.

If convicted, Bates faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on each count.  The charges against him are the result of an investigation by the Madison Police Department and the Dane County Narcotics Task Force, with the assistance of the Middleton Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Altman is handling the prosecution.

Docket (0 Docs):   https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1wHkm7qdDiQAKefifAF9wjuORdfeqIt53lwX93lbtZTs/edit#gid=0
  Last Updated: 2020-02-02 16:38:51 UTC
Description: The fiscal year of the data file obtained from the AOUSC
Format: YYYY

Description: The code of the federal judicial circuit where the case was located
Format: A2

Description: The code of the federal judicial district where the case was located
Format: A2

Description: The code of the district office where the case was located
Format: A2

Description: Docket number assigned by the district to the case
Format: A7

Description: A unique number assigned to each defendant in a case which cannot be modified by the court
Format: A3

Description: A unique number assigned to each defendant in a case which can be modified by the court
Format: A3

Description: A sequential number indicating whether a case is an original proceeding or a reopen
Format: N5

Description: Case type associated with the current defendant record
Format: A2

Description: A concatenation of district, office, docket number, case type, defendant number, and reopen sequence number
Format: A18

Description: A concatenation of district, office, docket number, case type, and reopen sequence number
Format: A15

Description: The status of the defendant as assigned by the AOUSC
Format: A2

Description: A code indicating the fugitive status of a defendant
Format: A1

Description: The date upon which a defendant became a fugitive
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which a fugitive defendant was taken into custody
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date when a case was first docketed in the district court
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which proceedings in a case commenced on charges pending in the district court where the defendant appeared, or the date of the defendant’s felony-waiver of indictment
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: A code used to identify the nature of the proceeding
Format: N2

Description: The date when a defendant first appeared before a judicial officer in the district court where a charge was pending
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: A code indicating the event by which a defendant appeared before a judicial officer in the district court where a charge was pending
Format: A2

Description: A code indicating the type of legal counsel assigned to a defendant
Format: N2

Description: The title and section of the U.S. Code applicable to the offense committed which carried the highest severity
Format: A20

Description: A code indicating the level of offense associated with FTITLE1
Format: N2

Description: The four digit AO offense code associated with FTITLE1
Format: A4

Description: The four digit D2 offense code associated with FTITLE1
Format: A4

Description: A code indicating the severity associated with FTITLE1
Format: A3

Description: The title and section of the U.S. Code applicable to the offense committed which carried the second highest severity
Format: A20

Description: A code indicating the level of offense associated with FTITLE2
Format: N2

Description: The four digit AO offense code associated with FTITLE2
Format: A4

Description: The four digit D2 offense code associated with FTITLE2
Format: A4

Description: A code indicating the severity associated with FTITLE2
Format: A3

Description: The title and section of the U.S. Code applicable to the offense committed which carried the third highest severity
Format: A20

Description: A code indicating the level of offense associated with FTITLE3
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Description: The four digit AO offense code associated with FTITLE3
Format: A4

Description: The four digit D2 offense code associated with FTITLE3
Format: A4

Description: A code indicating the severity associated with FTITLE3
Format: A3

Description: The title and section of the U.S. Code applicable to the offense committed which carried the fourth highest severity
Format: A20

Description: A code indicating the level of offense associated with FTITLE4
Format: N2

Description: The four digit AO offense code associated with FTITLE4
Format: A4

Description: The four digit D2 offense code associated with FTITLE4
Format: A4

Description: A code indicating the severity associated with FTITLE4
Format: A3

Description: The FIPS code used to indicate the county or parish where an offense was committed
Format: A5

Description: The date of the last action taken on the record
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which judicial proceedings before the court concluded
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which the final sentence is recorded on the docket
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which the case was closed
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The total fine imposed at sentencing for all offenses of which the defendant was convicted and a fine was imposed
Format: N8

Description: A count of defendants filed including inter-district transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants filed excluding inter-district transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of original proceedings commenced
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants filed whose proceedings commenced by reopen, remand, appeal, or retrial
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants terminated including interdistrict transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants terminated excluding interdistrict transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of original proceedings terminated
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants terminated whose proceedings commenced by reopen, remand, appeal, or retrial
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants pending as of the last day of the period including long term fugitives
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants pending as of the last day of the period excluding long term fugitives
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Description: The source from which the data were loaded into the AOUSC’s NewSTATS database
Format: A10

Description: A sequential number indicating the iteration of the defendant record
Format: N2

Description: The date the record was loaded into the AOUSC’s NewSTATS database
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: Statistical year ID label on data file obtained from the AOUSC which represents termination year
Format: YYYY

Data imported from FJC Integrated Database
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