Cleveland man and former Parma resident charged with embezzling $186,000, using some of the money for cocaine
A former Parma resident and a Cleveland man were indicted in federal court for their roles in a conspiracy to embezzle more than $186,000, said U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman and FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony.
Lisa M. Pfrenger, 48, of Fairfield Bay, Arkansas, and previously of Parma, and Lorenzo Parker, 46, of Cleveland, were indicted on one count of conspiracy to make, utter and possess counterfeit checks and 14 counts of making, uttering and possessing counterfeit checks.
Pfrenger was the operations manager of Resource Title National Agency, Inc. (RTNA) and had control over the day-to-day operations of the company, including check writing. As a title company licensed by the state of Ohio, RTNA kept an account containing unclaimed funds from its various real estate transactions. The amount of funds in a title company’s unclaimed funds can become significant over time and if these monies remain unclaimed, the title company is required to transfer the unclaimed funds to the Ohio Department of Insurance, according to the indictment.
Pfrenger and Parker devised a scheme to embezzle monies in RTNA’s unclaimed funds account. Pfrenger issued checks in the name of previous customers of RTNA to make it look a legitimate payment of funds from a previous real estate transaction. Pfrenger then gave the checks to Parker, who either endorsed the checks himself or had others endorse the checks, by forging the signature of the payee and depositing the checks, according to the indictment.
Parker then withdrew the monies and used it for his personal use. In return, Parker provided Pfrenger with cocaine, according to the indictment.
Both Pfrenger and Parker knew that they had no legitimate basis to possess the counterfeited checks, nor the unclaimed funds. From January 2013 through October 2015, Pfrenger and Parker made, possessed and deposited approximately 216 counterfeit checks resulting in an approximate loss of $186,718 to RTNA’s unclaimed fund accounts, according to the indictment.
The defendants’ sentence, if any, will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendants’ prior criminal record, if any, the defendants’ role in the offense and the characteristics of the violations. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and, in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.
The matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark S. Bennett after an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.