Former Connecticut man gets 9-year sentence for victimizing West Haven homeowners and others



HARTFORD >> When a couple in West Haven fell on hard times seven years ago and needed to quickly sell their home, a man who said his name was Kerry Saunders showed up at the door and seemed to have all the answers.

Saunders, whose actual name is Timothy Burke, helped the West Haven couple in the same way he did dozens of other people in the state — by approaching them when they were near foreclosure on their homes, offering to buy their homes and pay off the mortgage, and then renting out the properties for personal gain.

Victims signed over their properties to Burke, often under one of 13 aliases, and at his encouragement, ignored future communication about foreclosure, court documents said.

Burke, 65, formerly of Easton, was sentenced to more than nine years in federal prison Friday. He was convicted by plea in January to one count of mail fraud and one count of tax evasion.

According to court documents, which do not name the West Haven couple or other victims, the victims of Burke’s schemes trusted him to take over the ownership of their homes when they were in difficult times. The scheme ran from approximately 2010 to November 2015.

“The emotional and mental consequences of Burke’s crime have had long-lasting impacts on the victims, perhaps even more than the financial losses, because the fraud victimized them in their very homes,” Assistant U.S. Attorney David Huang wrote in a sentencing memorandum to the court.

Burke was arrested in November 2015 and has been detained since his arrest.

Burke has avoided paying more than $400,000 in federal taxes and owes the Internal Revenue Service more than $1 million in back taxes, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Restitution payment has not been set by the court yet.