Woman guilty of defrauding lenders, title insurer of $1.7M

Escrow accountant altered statements prior to audits

October 12, 2011|By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun

A Charles County woman pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to mail fraud that was part of a plan to defraud lenders and a title insurance company of $1.7 million.

Brenda Lukenich, 60, of Hughesville was an escrow accountant for title companies that operated in Baltimore, Annapolis and Washington, D.C., according to a statement by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland.

Roughly five years ago, Lukenich altered escrow account statements prior to audits — required by the title insurer — to show that accounts were balanced even though they actually were short about $3 million, the statement said.

Her deceptive accounting practices, in part, caused the title insurer to lose about $1.7 million, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Lukenich faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Her sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 12.

Two co-defendants are scheduled to go to trial on Nov. 7, prosecutors said.

steve.kilar@baltsun.com

twitter.com/stevekilar

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