February 17, 2005
Conviction in Mortgage Fraud Case
Bill Rankin of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports on a conviction of a former lawyer in "a $20 million mortgage fraud operation called the largest of its kind in metro Atlanta." When the indictment was handed down, the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Northern District of Georgia stated that this defendant:
"owned and operated The McFarland Law Firm located first at 4820 Redan Road, Stone Mountain, Georgia, and later at 900 North Hairston Road, Stone Mountain, Georgia. She acted as agent for title insurance companies, and was the closing attorney for various lenders. MCFARLAND caused HUD-1 Settlement Statements (HUD-1s) to be signed certifying that she received and disbursed loan proceeds as reflected on the HUD-1s when she closed mortgage loans for various lenders on the properties for which she wrote title insurance, with the actual McFarland receipts and disbursements not as reflected on the Settlement Statements. The indictment alleges that McFarland paid the identity thief $10,000 per identity, the primary appraiser who inflated property values over $400,000, and other coconspirators from her escrow account without reflecting such payments on the settlement statements."