Mont Vernon lawyer found guilty in $8M fraud scheme

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CONCORD - A Mont Vernon lawyer was found guilty on Thursday of four counts of bank fraud, as well as charges of wire fraud, money laundering, and making misrepresentations during bankruptcy proceedings.

The verdict was returned by Senior U.S. District Judge Paul Barbadoro following a two-week bench trial. According to exhibits and witness testimony during the trial, Joseph A. Foistner, 67, used fraudulent means to apply for more than $8 million in loans from five different financial institutions, laundered money, and made material misrepresentations during bankruptcy proceedings between 2015 and 2018.

Foistner, at the time of the scheme, was a licensed attorney in Massachusetts. He did not have any paying clients and earned no income through his law firm. In order to obtain millions of dollars in loans from multiple financial institutions, Foistner provided banks with misleading documents that suggested that he was operating a lucrative law firm. For example, he claimed that he was a "seasoned attorney" with international clients and that his firm earned over a million dollars in annual income. In fact, all the firm's purported income was based upon bogus, unpaid invoices the firm submitted to entities that the defendant controlled, including bankrupt entities.

The defendant also made other false statements to obtain bank loans, including lying about whether he was involved as a party to any lawsuits and denying that he had an interest in other companies. He also falsely represented that he had a salary by mischaracterizing loan proceeds as a salary. In one of the bank fraud schemes, the defendant submitted false information to obtain a loan by claiming falsely that his wife was earning over $200,000 per year as a paralegal, according to testimony during the bench trial. Each of the loans made to Foistner were backed by either the Department of the Veterans Affairs or the Small Business Administration.

Evidence further showed that Foistner committed several crimes during Chapter 7 bankruptcy court proceedings in 2017 and 2018 such as making false representations denying that he held or controlled property owned by others when he actually controlled funds that were held in the name of a business. He also made false statements under oath by lying about what happened to the proceeds of one of the fraudulent loans and lying about not knowing the location of a piece of real estate that had been purchased in part with funds he borrowed and had subsequently funneled into bank accounts not in his name.

Foistner is scheduled to be sentenced on April 4.

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