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Publish Date: 5/17/2005

Loan officer arrested in fraud


LONGMONT— A Longmont mortgage broker was arrested Friday after police say she stole a client’s identity and racked up more than $40,000 in credit debt that included the purchase of an $8,000 Royal Caribbean cruise.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Jennifer Riley, 39, used the Social Security number of a client to open credit accounts with Citibank and MBNA.

Police were first alerted about the alleged identity theft Feb. 15, when Riley’s client discovered four accounts on her credit report with approximately $40,000 in credit lines that the woman said she did not open, the affidavit said. The woman told police she suspected Riley, whom she had previously used as a loan officer on home purchases and had known for six years.

The affidavit said Riley opened the first of two accounts with Citibank over the Internet in January 2004, using her name but the Social Security number of the woman and another Citibank account over the telephone using the same method.

On the latter account, Riley listed an e-mail address at Inspired Lending for her contact information, the affidavit said. That company’s Web site now reads, “Inspired Lending has completed operations and is no longer providing lending services.”

According to the affidavit, Riley made payments on the second Citibank account, which had a balance of $8,470 by mid-March 2004. That account was “in good standing” until authorities were notified of the unauthorized use of Riley’s client’s Social Security number.

In February 2004, Riley also opened an account with MBNA, again over the Internet and again using her own name and the same woman’s Social Security number, the affidavit said.

According to the affidavit, within a month, that account had accumulated a balance of $17,229. and “immediately was delinquent after being opened and used.”

An MBNA fraud investigator told police Riley admitted to him that she opened the account, the affidavit said.

MBNA officials closed that account in January 2005, according to the report, because the balance of $19,681 was 90 days past due.

Riley also had a checking account with Wells Fargo and also opened a credit card account with Wells Fargo in March 2004, and according to the affidavit, she made a number of transfers from the first three accounts into them. They included moving $8,000 from the MBNA account to the Wells Fargo checking account to pay for the cruise for herself and two others, and three $5,000 transfers from the two Citibank accounts to the Wells Fargo credit account, the affidavit said.

In the affidavit, police say a Wells Fargo investigator stated that Riley deposited between $15,000 and $40,000 a month in the Wells Fargo checking account over the past year.

Her Wells Fargo credit account had a balance of $19,166 and there were no payments on it the first three months, according to the affidavit. Payments were later made, the report said, and the account also was in “good standing” until the investigation began.

According to the affidavit, Riley told police in a phone interview that “she was aware of the accounts, and she had made payments on the accounts, but she did not admit she was responsible for opening the accounts.”

The investigator said that during the phone interview, she said “something to the effect of ‘Do you think I would be that stupid to open accounts like this using my own name and address?’”

Investigators also said in the affidavit that they acquired an apologetic type-written letter from Riley to the woman that said “... if this ever gets out I will loose (sic) my reputation, job, career, it will be over for me in Longmont.”

The letter said there is nothing to do with other clients and also mentions that the incident would “bring some other people down.”

Riley has a previous criminal history that includes theft and fraud charges. Colorado court records show some of the theft charges were dropped, and that in 1991, she pleaded guilty to fraud by check and theft of less than $300.

“There’s a strong possibility there may be additional victims,” said Longmont Detective Darin Marsing. He advised anyone who may have dealt with Riley or Inspired Lending to check their credit reports for suspicious activity.

Riley could not be reached for comment. She is free after posting her $15,000 bond and is expected in court May 26.

Erin Quinn can be reached at 303-684-5336, or by e-mail at equinn@times-call.com.

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