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Seattle bankers indicted over home loans

Aug. 5, 2011 at 3:40 PM

SEATTLE, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Four people were indicted in an alleged loan-fraud scheme that federal prosecutors said led to the collapse of a Seattle-area bank.

Two of the defendants were former vice presidents of the now-defunct Pierce Commercial Bank and allegedly helped steer mortgage loans to unqualified buyers who wound up defaulting.

The defendants allegedly fudged the information on about 270 loan applications valued at more than $45 million between 2004 and 2008. About 100 of those loans eventually defaulted, the U.S. attorney's office in Seattle said in a written statement Friday.

Pierce Commercial was closed by federal regulators in November.

"This conspiracy didn't just damage Pierce Commercial Bank," U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said. "This activity helped pump up the housing bubble that artificially drove up valuations, and now leaves innocent families underwater on their mortgages."

The defendants included Shawn Portman, 39, former senior vice president and loan officer for the bank. He was arrested Friday by federal agents.

Also indicted were former Senior Vice President Sonja Lightfoot, 52, and bank employees Adam Voelker, 38, and Jeanette Salsi, 54.

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