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Auditor Sued Over Embezzlement

Auditor Sued Over EmbezzlementSouthern Lenders Vs. Tidwell DeWitt

April 4, 2007

By JERRY DeMUTH

A Georgia mortgage company has sued its former auditing company for failing to detect the embezzlement of almost $4 million. But the auditor, who said the allegations are completely untrue, may not have to face trial.

The civil suit was filed by Southern Lenders Mortgage Corp. in Fulton County Superior Court on March 9 against Tidwell DeWitt LLC.

The mortgage broker charged that Tidwell, a rapidly growing accounting firm based in Birmingham, Ala., and two of its accountants failed to discover fraud when auditing Southern Lenders’ books during a five-year period.

“The allegations in the complaint,” a spokesman for Tidwell DeWitt told MortgageDaily.com, “are so offensive and such an affront to our professional reputation that we reject the complaint as completely untrue and without merit.

But he declined to speak more specifically.

However, the auditor may have gotten a big break.

Southern Lenders and Joseph E. White were indicted in January for allegedly stealing $3.7 million from the company’s line-of-credit with nBank, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

The company has apparently gone out of business since the case was filed.

Its two most recent office phone numbers have been disconnected as has its toll-free number, and its Web site has been taken down, MortgageDaily.com discovered.

And an official at the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, which licenses lenders, told MortgageDaily.com that while the broker firm had a current license, it had closed its offices in Conyers and Union City and apparently one its two remaining offices, in either Fairburn or Newnan.

All four towns are suburbs southwest of Atlanta.

A message faxed from MortgageDaily.com to an agent for Southern Lenders elicited no response.

“I believe they are no longer,” one source told MorgageDaily.com.


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