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Owner of former WA real estate escrow company sentenced to prison for bank fraud

The owner of a former real estate escrow firm in Washington state was sentenced Friday for bank fraud.

Lori Lynn Andrew, owner of Hartman Escrow Inc., was sentenced to 24 months in prison by the U.S. District Court in Seattle.

From around January 2011 until July 2012, Andrew stole more than $2.1 million through various methods to defraud financial institutions and individual home buyers and sellers involved in real estate transactions, Department of Justice officials said Friday.

Officials said Andrew made or had others make false settlement statements on closing transactions by listing false or inflated fees and charges.

She forged signatures on statements, created false invoices, statements and bills, altered and deposited checks to her company account, and took client funds from her trust account to transfer them to her own personal account, officials said.

Department of Justice officials said at the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones said to Andrew, “Every single time you had an opportunity to change your mind and say ‘this is wrong,’ you kept doing it.”

Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank, Chase, and GMAC were defrauded along with individual clients.

Andrew used the money for bills, casino payments and other expenses, officials said.

Her license to act as an escrow agent was suspended in 2013 and has since been revoked.

Over $1 million is still owed to defrauded clients.

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