Jean Teresa Hoffert, 59, Emmetsburg, Iowa, has been charged with 13 counts of mail fraud, six counts of bank fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft, and three counts of money laundering. The charges are contained in an Indictment recently unsealed in United States District Court in Sioux City, Iowa.
The Indictment alleges that, between about the spring of 2005 and the summer of 2008, while acting as a real estate settlement agent, Hoffert fraudulently kept portions of sale or mortgage loan proceeds. Rather than using the proceeds to pay off existing mortgage loans on the properties as she was required to do, Hoffert allegedly used the money for her own purposes. In one instance, Hoffert allegedly used over $18,000 in loan proceeds to pay off an automobile loan.
The Indictment alleges that, in order to conceal her fraud, Hoffert caused original mortgage lenders to send statements and other bank correspondence to a post office box under her control. The Indictment also alleges Hoffert attempted to conceal her fraud by making payments on existing mortgage loans. Hoffert allegedly used the account numbers and names of other persons without authority to do so.
If convicted on all charges, Hoffert faces a mandatory minimum sentence of two years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of 476 years’ imprisonment, a $6,250,000 fine, $2,500 in special assessments, and 81 years of supervised release following any imprisonment.
Hoffert appeared in federal court in Sioux City and was released on bond. Hoffert‘s next appearance for trial is set for January 3, 2011.
As with any criminal case, a charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Peter Deegan and was investigated by the Spencer, Iowa Police Department, the Emmetsburg, Iowa Police Department, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.