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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


OCTOBER 6, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


KIDDER ATTORNEY SENTENCED FOR $866,000 BANK FRAUD


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kidder, Mo., attorney was sentenced in federal court today for defrauding a North Kansas City, Mo., bank in a series of loans totaling $866,810.


            Dawn Renee Harpster, 38, of Kidder, was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr., this morning to four years and two months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Harpster to pay $866,810 in restitution. Harpster’s license to practice law has been suspended due to matters unrelated to this felony conviction; the status of her license will be reviewed by the appropriate authorities as a result of today’s sentencing.


            On Nov. 28, 2007, Harpster pleaded guilty to five counts of bank fraud. Harpster, formerly doing business as Northwest Missouri Title Co., LLC, in Gallatin, Mo., admitted that she defrauded Norbank by obtaining five loans totaling $866,810 between March 2006 and Dec. 26, 2006.


            For each of those loans, Harpster falsely claimed to have contracts with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah, under which the LDS Church would purchase Daviess County, Mo., properties from her. If Norbank would loan her the funds to purchase the properties, Harpster told the bank, then she would sell those properties to the LDS Church one year later at a price of at least $1,300 per acre above her original purchase price, or above the average appraised value of the properties.


            For each of the five loans, Harpster submitted false and fraudulent Contracts for the Sale and Purchase of Real Estate in connection with applications for loans.


            Harpster also told Norbank that Northwest Missouri Title would handle the closing and would obtain title insurance for her purchase of the properties and for the sale of the properties to the LDS Church. Harpster falsely represented to Norbank that she had obtained a title commitment and title insurance for each of the properties, when in fact she had not done so and the title insurance documents she provided to Norbank were false and fraudulent. Harpster falsely represented to Norbank that she had recorded deeds of trust from Northwest Missouri Title to Norbank, thereby securing the liens on the properties in the amounts of the loans.


            When the bank disbursed the loans in the form of cashier’s checks, Harpster used the proceeds for personal expenditures and not for the purposes represented.


            This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Parker Marshall. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html