In El Paso this morning, 59-year-old Lisolette Day “Di Di” Lofton and her stepson, 49-year-old James Douglas Lofton, owners of Southwest Escrow in Horizon City, pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with the embezzlement of over $1.2 million in escrowed tax monies from more than 400 customers, announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman and FBI Special Agent In Charge Mark Morgan.
On October 4, 2009, Southwest Escrow, a contracted third party collection service for mortgages of owner financed properties, closed without any notice to its customers. In November 2009, the FBI began an investigation after receiving a complaint that the defendants and Southwest Escrow had failed to make tax payments on various properties between 2007 and 2009 and that they had failed to forward principal and interest payments collected the last week they were in business.
Appearing before United States Magistrate Judge Anne T. Berton , Di Di Lofton pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud; James Lofton, one count of misprision of felony. By pleading guilty, Di Di Lofton admitted that from 2007 to 2009, she provided short term loans, including wiring approximately $225,000, using Southwest Escrow monies to two financially struggling companies to which she also served as a bookkeeper: S-Diego, a Mexican cattle company, and Comprehensive Coding Solutions (CCE), a medical coding company in Arizona. According to court records, the companies were able to pay some of the money back to Southwest Escrow, however in 2007, it became apparent that Di Di Lofton had loaned out more of Southwest Escrow’s money than it had available to pay the property taxes of its customers. James Lofton admitted that in 2007, he became aware of Di Di’s actions and assisted in the concealment.
Di Di Lofton remains in custody and James Lofton is on bond. pending sentencing. Di Di Lofton faces up to 20 years in federal prison; James Lofton, up to three years in federal prison. Sentencing has yet to be scheduled.
This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Adrian Gallegos is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.