Thursday, December 15, 2016

Louisiana Man Gets 30 Months For Role In Conspiracy To Pilfer Over $1.4 Million In Real Estate Escrow Funds; Yet-To-Be-Pinched Title Insurance Agent Co-Conspirator Remains A Fugitive

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Dallas, Texas):
  • Leonard James McMorris, of Rayville, Louisiana, was sentenced [...] to 30 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $1,417,903 in restitution, following his guilty plea in March 2016 to his role in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.

    McMorris, 50, and co-conspirator, Constance Marie Kelly, 53, were indicted in February 2009 on the conspiracy and several substantive counts of wire fraud. McMorris was eventually arrested in the Western District of Louisiana in August 2015, and has remained in custody since his arrest. Kelly was never arrested and remains a fugitive.

    According to plea documents filed in his case, from approximately 2002 to 2007, McMorris and Kelly conspired to commit an extensive fraudulent scheme. During this period, Kelly worked for LandAmerica American Title Company (American Title), a title insurance agent engaged in title insurance transactions for real estate closings. As part of her duties, she had access to funds deposited in the American Title escrow account at Compass Bank.

    At various times in 2006 and 2007, as part of the scheme McMorris opened several business bank accounts at banks in Texas, including Bank of America, N.A., Bank One, N.A., Bank of Texas, N.A., and Compass Bank. During the conspiracy, Kelly used at least 11 checks and 51 wire transfers to fraudulently disburse approximately $1,417,904 of American Title escrow funds into several bank accounts in Texas that McMorris controlled. Kelly concealed from American Title that she made these unauthorized and fraudulent transfers to McMorris.

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