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      Prattville woman indicted on home mortgage fraud, theft charges

      MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Attorney General Luther Strange announced the arrest of a Prattville woman for four counts of residential mortgage fraud, two counts of first-degree theft and two counts of first-degree theft by deception.{}

      Lynda Branch, 59, formerly operated Professional Closing and Title LLC and was doing business in Prattville as Pro Close.{} Branch was arrested by the Autauga County Sheriff's Office Tuesday.{}

      Attorney General Strange's Office presented evidence to an Autauga Co. grand jury on May 8, resulting in Branch's indictment two days later.{}

      Charges against Branch:

        One count of residential mortgage fraud in that Branch, knowingly and with intent to defraud made a material deliberate misrepresentation, by certifying in a HUD-1 Settlement Statement that Professional Closing and Title would disburse $140,325 to GMAC to pay off first and second mortgages on behalf of a consumer, with intent that this misrepresentation made during the mortgage lending process would be relied upon by Wells Fargo N.A., in violation of Code of Alabama Section 13A-9-130;

        One count of residential mortgage fraud in that Branch, knowingly and with intent to defraud made a material deliberate misrepresentation, by certifying in a HUD-1 Settlement Statement that Professional Closing and Title would disburse $140,325 to GMAC to pay off first and second mortgages on behalf of a consumer, with intent that this misrepresentation made during the mortgage lending process would be relied upon by consumers, in violation of Code of Alabama Section 13A-9-130;

        One count of residential mortgage fraud in that Branch, knowingly and with intent to defraud made a material deliberate misrepresentation, by certifying in a HUD-1 Settlement Statement that professional Closing and Title would disburse $273,399 to USAA to pay off a first mortgage on behalf of a consumer, with intent that the misrepresentation made during the mortgage lending process would be relied upon by Wells Fargo N.A., in violation of Code of Alabama Section 13A-9-130;

        One count of residential mortgage fraud in that Branch, knowingly and with intent to defraud made a material deliberate misrepresentation, by certifying in a HUD-1 Settlement Statement that professional Closing and Title would disburse $273,399 to USAA to pay off a first mortgage on behalf of a consumer, with intent that the misrepresentation made during the mortgage lending process would be relied upon by consumers, in violation of Code of Alabama Section 13A-9-130;

        Two counts of first-degree theft by unauthorized control, of property valued at more than $2,500 from Wells Fargo Bank N.A., in violation of Code of Alabama Section 13A-8-3; and Two counts of first-degree theft by deception, of property valued at more than $2,500 from Wells Fargo Bank N.A., in violation of Code of Alabama Section 13A-8-3.{}

        No further information about the investigation or about Branch's alleged crimes other than that stated in the indictment may be released at this time.

        If convicted, Branch faces a maximum penalty of two to 20 years imprisonment and fines of up to $30,000 for each of the four counts of first-degree theft, which are Class B felonies. For each of the four Class C felony counts of home mortgage fraud, she faces penalties of one to 10 years imprisonment and fines of up to $15,000.

        Source:{} Release from the Office of Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange

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