FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2011
NEWARK, N.J. – A Belleville, N.J., woman admitted today she participated in a mortgage fraud scheme that defrauded Wells Fargo Bank and that she structured money orders to evade transaction reporting and identification requirements.
Kim S. Morris, 42, a part-time court clerk at the Essex County Courthouse, pleaded guilty to a two-count Information charging her with one count of bank fraud and one count of structuring. Morris entered her guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler in Newark federal court.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Morris admitted that she applied for a mortgage loan from Wells Fargo Bank in January 2008 by completing a fraudulent Uniform Residential Loan Application in order to procure approximately $624,000 for a home loan. The loan application contained material misrepresentations, including inflating Morris’ personal income and falsifying the name of her employer. These fraudulent misrepresentations caused Wells Fargo to extend a home loan to Morris. In pleading guilty, Morris also admitted that from March 2008 through late June 2009, she structured approximately 110 money orders, totaling $84,855.55, for the purpose of evading the reporting and identification requirements.
The bank fraud conspiracy count to which Morris pleaded guilty to carries a maximum potential statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The structuring count to which Morris pleaded guilty to carries a maximum potential statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is currently scheduled for Dec. 14, 2011.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited U.S. Postal Inspectors, under the director of Postal Inspector In Charge Philip R. Bartlett of the Newark Division; special agents with the DEA, under the director of Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell in Newark; and special agents with IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Victor W. Lessoff in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lakshmi Srinivasan Herman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Unit.
Defense counsel: Cassandra Savoy Esq., Bloomfield, N.J.