Monday, February 06, 2017

Sticky-Fingered Closing Agent Gets 18 Months Jail Time For Pocketing Loan Proceeds From Real Estate Transactions, Then Failing To Pay Off Existing Mortgages; Unwitting Homebuyers Were Forced To Hire Attorneys To Fight Foreclosure On Unpaid Liens To Keep Their Homes

From the Office of the Alabama Attorney General:
  • Attorney General Luther Strange announced that a Prattville woman pleaded guilty on October 31, 2016, to three counts of residential mortgage fraud and yesterday [February 2] was sentenced to serve time in jail. Lynda Branch, who formerly operated Professional Closing and Title LLC doing business in Prattville as Pro Close, was sentenced in Autauga County Circuit Court to 46 months, which was suspended for her to serve 18 months in jail and to be placed on probation for the remainder of her sentence.

    Branch, acting as closing agent in home sales, was transferred funds by a mortgage lending bank to pay off existing mortgages, but did not pay off those mortgages. This subsequently resulted in the homeowners being held responsible for the outstanding mortgages, threatened with foreclosure, and having to engage in protracted litigation to avoid losing their homes.

    “This defendant’s crimes caused tremendous anguish and difficulties for the homeowner victims,” said Attorney General Strange. “These consumers had acted with responsibility and met their obligations, but had to endure foreclosure notices and severe anxiety. They were forced to hire lawyers and fight to keep their homes. It is appropriate that the defendant now will serve time in jail for her wrongdoing.”

    Attorney General Strange commended Assistant Attorney General Stephanie Billingslea of his Criminal Trials Division and Special Agents of his Investigations Division. He also thanked the Prattville Police Department for its assistance.

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