News Column

Defense makes its case

June 25, 2014

By Jon Vanderlaan, Odessa American, Texas

June 25--A federal judge is expected to rule on whether two defendants in a prominent Permian Basin mortgage fraud case will be able to introduce evidence that for the past 12 years they have been repaying loans, which the U.S. Department of Justice has alleged are illegal.

Cynthia Gayle Hirsch, an Odessa Realtor; Berta Laura McFaddin, a Midland title company officer; and Michael Duraine Cowan II and Stephen Hilliard, owners of real estate companies in Midland, were indicted in federal court in January on one count each of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Cowan and Hilliard have been accused of buying properties, and then submitting to the bank false purchase documents between each others' companies for an increased value for a loan to cover the full cost of the legitimate purpose.

McFaddin was accused in the scheme of helping create the fraudulent sale and Hirsch was accused of creating a "broker's price opinion" to substantiate the higher price.

Junell took the case under advisement and said he would have a ruling at a later date.

The next scheduled court hearing for the case is a 9 a.m.July 2 status conference in front of Magistrate Judge David Counts.

€‹Contact Jon Vanderlaan on twitter at @OAcourts, on Facebook at OA Jon Vanderlaan or call 432-333-7763.


(c)2014 the Odessa American (Odessa, Texas)

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Source: Odessa American (TX)

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