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Dallas woman sentenced via VTC for $1.4 million wire fraud

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A Dallas woman was sentenced via video teleconference to 46 months in federal prison for her role in a $1.4 million real estate title insurance scheme, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.

Hers was the first VTC sentencing hearing in federal court in Dallas since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. 

Constance Marie Kelly, 56, pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She was sentenced Monday morning by Chief U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn, who held the hearing via VTC.

“This defendant, who defrauded her employer out of more than a million dollars, was sentenced via video teleconference,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox. “We are gratified the Court is working with our office to ensure justice marches on, even amidst a pandemic.”

According to plea papers, Ms. Kelly, a former employee of real estate title company American Title, admitted that she and codefendant Leonard James McMorris fraudulently transferred more than $1.4 million from American Title’s escrow accounts into bank accounts belonging to Mr. McMorris.  Between 2002 and 2007, Ms. Kelly admitted, she initiated at least 51 wire transfers and wrote 11 checks to fraudulently disburse the money from an American Title account at Compass Bank in Alabama.

Mr. McMorris had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and was sentenced in November 2016 to 30 months in federal prison.

The defendants are jointly and severally liable for more than $1.4 million in restitution.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Jarvis prosecuted the case.

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