The Morning Report
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How could we forget the name of this company?

At the center of an FBI bust a terribly long-seeming time ago — June 2008 — was a downtown mortgage brokering firm called “Creative Financial Solutions.”

Federal prosecutors charged six individuals in June 2008 in relation to an alleged mortgage fraud ring. Five of the defendants pleaded guilty in November 2008. There’s a court date scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 25.

The sixth defendant, 26-year-old Lucette Montane, had been a fugitive until just a few weeks ago, when she voluntarily surrendered at the San Ysidro border crossing on Dec. 15. She was arraigned in court the next day.

Initial court documents tell the story of a complex operation which law enforcement officials said caused potential losses to mortgage lenders of $5.1 million. Law enforcement officials said the defendants had fudged mortgage applications, inflated purchase prices and obtained loans for unknowing or unqualified borrowers for more than 20 properties around San Diego County. The defendants pocketed the commissions and fees from buyers, lenders and sellers on the loans, the prosecutors said.

As a loan officer at Creative Financial Solutions, according to court documents, Montane allegedly sent loan application packages and other documents to mortgage lenders for review and funding, and pocketed commissions and fees when loans came through.

Montane is charged with felony counts of conspiracy to commit both wire fraud and money laundering. The charges each carry maximum penalties of 20 years in prison and fines of $250,000.

Michael Pancer, Montane’s attorney, declined to comment on the case.

— KELLY BENNETT

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