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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                          Feb. 16, 2012                   

VIRGINIA WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO MORTGAGE FRAUD

BECKLEY, W.Va. – A Rocky Gap, Virginia woman pleaded guilty today in federal court before United States District Judge Irene C. Berger to mortgage fraud. Janet Damewood, 60, admitted that in February 2007, she applied for a second mortgage from CitiFinancial, Inc. (now known as OneMain Financial, Inc.) on a home she owned in Princeton, West Virginia.  At the time the defendant applied for the mortgage, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had filed a $256,000 Federal Tax Lien at the Mercer County Courthouse against the property for Damewood’s failure to pay back taxes. 

Damewood admitted that she did not disclose the Federal Tax Lien, which was later discovered by CitiFinancial during the underwriting process.  Damewood further admitted that she created a false and fraudulent document which claimed to be a release of the Federal Tax Lien.  The defendant subsequently provided the false document to CitiFinancial as proof that the lien had been released.  Based on her false representations, CitiFinancial funded a $37,000 loan to the defendant. 

The home sold at foreclosure in May 2010 for far less than the value of the first mortgage and the Federal Tax Lien.  As a result, CitiFinancial ultimately lost the full amount of the $37,000 mortgage.
Damewood faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when she is sentenced on June 14, 2012.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Ryan is in charge of the prosecution.

This case was prosecuted as part of President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

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