Lee Ann Benninghoff, 44, Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of bank fraud and conspiracy.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Benninghoff owned and operated Complete Escrow and Bella Casa Realty. From February 2014 through March 2017, Benninghoff used her position and connections in real estate financing, and conspired with others in the industry, to submit fraudulent gift letters in support of mortgage loan applications The gift letters misrepresented the source of the funds and their purported purpose.
Benninghoff, pleaded guilty to two counts before United States District Judge Marilyn J. Horan.
Judge Horan scheduled sentencing for July 12, 2023, at 9 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of not more than 30 years in prison, a fine of not more than $1,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Acting United States Attorney Troy Rivetti made the announcement.
Assistant United States Attorney Robert S. Cessar is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Secret Service conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Benninghoff.