EVERETT — A loan officer accused of stealing funds from her customers’ mortgage loan proceeds was sentenced today to six months in jail and another six months of home monitoring, Attorney General Rob McKenna announced.
The Financial Crimes Unit of the state Attorney General’s Office brought charges against Ellen V. Milam, 38, of Everett, on Feb 2, 2007, at the request of the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions. Milam entered a plea of guilty as charged on Mar 23, 2007, in Snohomish County Superior Court to six counts of theft in the second degree.
Prior to her guilty plea, Milam repaid $99,500 in restitution. This case is a result of substantial work by the Attorney General’s Office Financial Crimes Unit and the Department of Financial Institutions.
According to charging papers, Milam was a loan originator with Pacific Crest Mortgage in Bellevue. During this time, she employed two different schemes to steal money from her customers. One scheme involved establishing a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) under a customer’s name but without the customer’s knowledge or consent. Milam would then deposit the HELOC proceeds into either her personal or business accounts. The other scheme involved depositing loan proceeds intended for her customers’ mortgage loans into her personal account. Milam would use the funds for a period of time but then later repay the funds.
The case was investigated and prosecuted thanks to a special pool of funds earmarked for mortgage fraud. Washington state's Mortgage Lending Fraud Prosecution Account was created by the Legislature in 2003 to aid prosecutors in bringing mortgage lending fraud cases. Funding is generated through a $1 fee for each recording of a deed of trust.
Media Contacts: Scott Kinney, Communications Director, DFI, 360-902-0517
Kristin Alexander, Seattle Media Relations Manager, Attorney General’s Office, (206) 464-6432
Deborah Bortner, Director of Consumer Services, DFI, 360-902-8700
Rebecca J. Jacobsen, Assistant Attorney General, 206-389-2012