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White-Collar Crime

Convicted Ex-Bankruptcy Attorney Could Get Up to 20 Years Per Count in Mortgage Fraud

Posted Mar 23, 2011 12:38 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A disbarred Illinois bankruptcy attorney has been convicted of three counts of wire fraud as part of a nationwide mortgage fraud prosecution involving 67 defendants.

Lorie Westerfield allegedly purchased homes from two clients, misrepresented the purchase prices and down payments and her income to lenders from whom she obtained mortgages, and then concealed at least one of the transactions from the bankruptcy court and her client's creditors, according to an Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission complaint that is linked to her attorney listing.

This week, the ex-attorney was convicted of three counts of wire fraud in federal court in Chicago, and acquitted of a fourth count, the Associated Press reports. She faces a maximum prison term of up to 20 years per count when she is sentenced in August. Meanwhile, she is free on bond.

A press release from the FBI provides additional details.

Westerfield's lawyer, Standish Willis, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, the AP article says.

A 2006 press release issued by the Department of Justice when Westerfield was charged describes the case against Westerfield and four other Chicago area lawyers accused of bankruptcy misconduct.

An Chicago Tribune article also discusses the charges against the five.

Previously convicted in the Chicago area was disbarred lawyer Tom O'Connell Holstein, as an earlier ABAJournal.com post details.

Attorney Norton Helton also was convicted, the Chicago Tribune reported, but has no public record of discipline, according to the IARDC website.

It isn't clear what final result has been reached, if any, in the criminal cases of defendant William Ramon Jackson and and Edward Varga, who also have been disbarred in Illinois.

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