Thursday, November 15, 2012

Closing Agent Gets Two Years After Admitting To $680K+ Escrow Account Ripoff Of Cash Intended To Pay Off Existing Mortgage Liens

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Baltimore, Maryland):

  • U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Sandy P. Kim, age 43, of Ellicott City, Maryland, [] to two years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for wire fraud. Judge Hollander also entered an order that Kim forfeit $684,283, the amount Kim stole from mortgage escrow accounts.
  • According to her plea, from 2005 to 2008, Kim was an agent for a title insurance company, and was the owner and chief operating officer of EK Settlements. Kim was required to maintain an escrow account for EK Settlements in order to receive real estate settlement funds from buyers and pay off mortgage lenders.

    Starting in 2006, Kim stole money from the escrow accounts to pay her personal bills, including taxes and private school tuition for her children. She also used the stolen funds to pay prior loans she had failed to pay off, in order to forestall discovery of her theft.

    On August 20, 2007 Kim performed a closing for a client and caused $175,136 to be wired to an account she controlled. Instead of paying off the client’s prior mortgage, Kim used the money for her own purposes. To conceal the theft, she made several monthly mortgage payments to the prior mortgage lender.

    In 2008 when the title insurance company began to suspect problems and sought to audit her accounts, Kim submitted fraudulently altered bank records. When subsequently interviewed by law enforcement, she admitted to the scheme.

    Kim stole a total of $684,283 from the escrow accounts which were intended to pay off mortgage lenders.

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