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Robert Trigaux

Ex-Colonial Bank executive and second woman pleads guilty to Taylor, Bean mortgage fraud



taylorbeanlogo.jpgWake up and good morning. In the growing aftermath of the demise of Ocala mortgage giant Taylor, Bean & Whitaker and the related failure of Alabama's Colonial Bank, it's unusual that the two key people who so far pleaded guilty are women. Taylor, Bean & Whitaker's former treasurer (actually "receptionist turned treasurer," read more here), Desiree Brownpleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud. And in Orlando, now comes former Colonial Bank executive Catherine "Cathie" Kissick confessing to her role in covering up one of the biggest frauds of the nationwide mortgage crisis.

As reported here in the Orlando Sentinel, Kissick, former head of now-defunct Colonial's mortgage-lending division in Orlando, pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy to commit fraud in what authorities described as a more than billion-dollar scheme involving Colonial and Taylor, Bean. Kissick, 50, faces a sentence of as much as 30 years in prison. She is scheduled to be sentenced in June in a federal court in Virginia. Here are more details on Kissick's alleged role in this mess from the Justice Department.

Says the Sentinel story: "Prosecutors said Kissick played a key role in the scheme by, among other things, hiding Colonial's purchase of hundreds of millions of dollars in bogus or problem mortgages from Taylor, Bean & Whitaker. Colonial later listed the mortgages as assets when it applied for $550 million in federal bank-bailout funds."

Still awaiting trial is Taylor Bean ex-CEO Lee Farkas, presumed by investigators to be the kingpin in the mortgage fraud. He was indicted last year and accused of orchestrating the nearly $2 billion mortgage-fraud conspiracy. He case is scheduled to go to trial later this month.

Want to refresh your memory on this sordid tale? Read this Wall Street Journal recap from 2009.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Friday, March 4, 2011 8:57am]


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