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Mortgage Crimes Yield Prison Time

Recent mortgage-related criminal actions

Aug. 20, 2010

By staff

In separate cases, two women have been sentenced to prison for defrauding their bank employers by manipulating accounting records and reducing the amount owed on loans. A New Jersey man pleaded guilty to advertising a fraudulent mortgage scheme.

Roberta Stutzman was given a 75-month prison sentence by a federal judge in Philadelphia after pleading guilty in March to bank fraud, bank embezzlement and tax fraud, an announcement from the Federal Bureau of Investigation said. She was also ordered to pay more than $4 million in restitution.

According to the government, Stutzman was employed by National Penn Bank as the manager of retail loan accounting. She was also an assistant vice president of loan accounting in the retail loan origination department.

From 1996 until December 2008, she used her computer override authority to fraudulently create two lines-of-credit for her husband and two lines under false names, the statement said. She subsequently went in and deleted accrued interest. Her total alleged misappropriations were $4,414,538.

"Stutzman spent much of the embezzled funds on expensive vehicles, a vacation home, real
estate, costly jewelry, paid vacations and gifts," the news release said.

A 24-month sentence was handed down this week to Kimberly O. McAbee, 45, by U.S. District Judge G. Ross Anderson Jr., a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice said. The 45-year-old woman was a loan officer for Arthur State Bank in Woodruff from 1988 until December 2009.

Around November 2006, McAbee allegedly began manipulating mortgages and home-equity lines-of-credit owed by her family and friends to her Woodruff, S.C., employer. She was able to hide the crime by accessing the bank's expense accounts and Freddie Mac accounts. But her cover was blown on Christmas Eve 2009, when her supervisor discovered the embezzlement and notified law enforcement officials.

She reportedly admitted her crimes and expressed regret -- claiming she had planned to repay the money. In all, the government alleges McAbee embezzled $520,000.

A federal judge in Juneau, Alaska, sentenced Adam Jay Hendren to five years of probation and 250 hours of community service, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

Hendren, 36, was a bank officer at Alaska Pacific Bank. He allegedly stole Alaska Airline Miles worth $8,503 from the company's corporate mileage account.

Hendren reportedly flew himself and his family for a year on the company's dime.

The Justice Department announced last month that Philip Pestrichello pleaded guilty following his February arrest. The defendant allegedly operated Preferred Platinum Services Network LLC, a home-based mortgage-postcard business that promised an income-earning business in exchange for a fee.

"Preferred Platinum Services Network promised consumers the opportunity to earn a 'weekly paycheck' by labeling postcards that advertised a product called the 'Mortgage Accelerator Program,'" the press release stated. "In fact, the Mortgage Accelerator Program itself
appears to have been a sham, non-existent product."

Around $1 million was fraudulently collected by Pestrichello, who pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and faces up to 20 years behind bars. The Bayville, N.J., man is scheduled for sentencing on Oct. 26.

Former Taylor, Bean and Whitaker Mortgage Corp. chairman Lee Farkas is being defended by a court-appointed attorney because he doesn't have access to his assets and can't pay his own attorney, the Star-Banner reported. Attorneys fees must either come from Taylor Bean's $5 million insurance policy or a carve-out from his assets, which government attorneys will only agree to once his attorneys submit a list of assets not previously disclosed.

United States of America v. Roberta L. Stutzman.
(U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania).

In re. McAbee.
(U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina).

In re. Hendren.
(U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska)

In re. Pestrichello.
(U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York).

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