Angela Raposa, 33, Riverside, Rhode Island, was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison for Wire Fraud. Raposa pleaded guilty to that offense, admitting that between February 2006 and February 2007 she operated a title insurance company, Title America Closing Services, and used mortgage proceeds that were supposed to be paid to mortgage companies for her own personal benefit.
In addition to the term of imprisonment, the judge ordered that, following her sentence, the defendant be placed on supervised release for 3 years, and that she pay restitution to Stewart Title, which served as the underwriter for Title America, in the amount of $1,254,324.85.
At the plea hearing on December 1, 2008, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew J. Reich said the government could prove that Raposa was the President of Title America, and that Stewart Title served as the company’s underwriter. As a real estate title and closing company, Title America ran title searches relating to real estate transactions, and also disbursed the proceeds of real estate transactions as the closing agent. The proceeds of these real estate transactions were deposited into Title America’s escrow account, and those proceeds were then disbursed from the escrow account.
Between February 2006 and February 2007, Raposa directed that funds which were deposited into the company escrow account not be used to pay off the corresponding existing mortgage. Instead, these funds were used to pay for various personal expenses of the defendant. Escrow funds were also used to pay off existing mortgages that were already delinquent, since they were originally not paid off in a timely fashion. Personal expenses paid for out of the escrow account included payments for residential utility bills, residential mortgage bills, residential real estate taxes, hair salons, cosmetics, clothing, an automobile, personal trips, checks to cash and payments to relatives. The defendant paid for these personal expenses out of the escrow account by writing checks against the escrow account and by using a debit card that was drawn against the escrow account.
In February, 2007, Stewart Title uncovered the fraudulent scheme, at which time it terminated Title America as its representative.
As a result of the fraudulent scheme, mortgages were not paid off by Title America with respect to five (5) real estate transactions. As a result, Stewart Title was required to pay off these amounts, which totaled approximately $1,254,324.85.
Raposa must report to prison on June 8, 2009.
United States Attorney Robert Clark Corrente announced the sentence, which Judge William E. Smith imposed in U.S. District Court, Providence. This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.