Five people including a 48-year-old Mesa woman were charged with mortgage fraud-related offenses in the U.S. District Court in Dallas, the court announced on Thursday.
Theresa Fey Barsema, a licensed escrow officer who worked at American Title Insurance, was charged with one count of bank fraud, four counts of wire fraud and one count of engaging in a monetary transaction with criminally derived properties that generated $8.8 million in fraudulent loans for 23 property closings.
The indictment alleges that from April 2005 to April 2007, Barsema and the other defendants ran a scheme in which they located single-family homes for sale in the Dallas-Fort Worth area such as excess inventory, distressed and pre-foreclosure properties and negotiated a sales price with the seller. They fraudulently received loan proceeds when they submitted bogus invoices to the title companies that falsely represented that they had performed work on the properties such as consulting or legal services, the indictment says.
The defendants are accused of recruiting individuals to act as “straw purchasers” or “straw borrowers,” promising to pay them a bonus or commission ranging from $3,500 to $25,000 for their participation in the transaction. The loan applications concealed information that would have revealed the borrower’s true financial condition to make the lender more likely to approve the loan, according to information from the U.S. District Court in Dallas.
A court date has not been scheduled for Barsema, who will appear before a federal judge in Arizona.