Hilliard Northwest News

Hilliard couple plead guilty in federal mortgage fraud case

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A Hilliard couple are awaiting sentencing in connection with a $7 million mortgage fraud scheme after pleading guilty to conspiracy charges Jan. 18 in federal court.

Title agent Deborah L. Kistner, 50, and her husband, Mark A. Kistner, 52, both of Hilliard, entered the plea after three days of trial in U.S. District Court in Columbus.

Mrs. Kistner pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, three counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of bank fraud.

Mr. Kistner pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

FBI and IRS agents said Deborah Kistner operated Premiere Title Co. in Hilliard and deceived lenders in connection with the purchase of real estate in Ohio and Florida between June 2006 and July 2010.

According to records used to obtain the pleas, Mrs. Kistner conspired with other co-defendants to secure inflated loans.

The Kistners then engaged in "short sale" closings where lenders agree to absorb losses on existing mortgage loans, investigators said, but instead quickly sold the property and laundered the profits through bank accounts Mr. Kistner controlled.

Mrs. Kistner faces a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million on each of the three counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and the one count of bank fraud, and up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on the three counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Mr. Kistner faces a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on the one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The plea agreements include forfeiture of investment accounts and restitution to victims.

The Kistners remain free on bond pending a sentencing.

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