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December 2, 08

NEWS / Title company owner admits $1.3 million fraud

Angela Raposa, who owned Title America Closing Services, pleaded guilty today to a federal fraud charge, admitting that she used about $1.3 million from her companyís escrow account to pay for personal expenses.

United States Attorney Robert Clark Corrente announced the guilty plea, which Raposa entered before U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith in U.S. District Court, Providence.

At the plea hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew J. Reich said the government could prove that, between February 2006 and February 2007, Raposa wrote checks and used a debit card against her companyís escrow account to pay for such personal expenses as residential utility bills and mortgage payments, hair salon fees, cosmetics, clothing, a car, personal trips, and payments to relatives.

Proceeds of real estate transactions were deposited into the escrow account and were supposed to be used to be disbursed at real estate closings, primarily to pay off existing mortgages. Stewart Title served as an underwriter for Title America and discovered Raposaís fraudulent scheme in February 2007. As the underwriter, Stewart Title had to pay off mortgages totaling $1,301,826 from five real estate transactions.

Raposa incorporated Title America in 2005. She was president of the company, which had between five and seven employees in addition to her.

Raposa, 32, of Peach Orchard Drive, Riverside, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. The maximum penalty is 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the amount of gain or loss. Raposa is free on unsecured bond pending sentencing, which is scheduled for April 17.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case.

Contact: 401-709-5032 Thomas.connell@usdoj.gov



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