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Business Observer Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 7 years ago

Title agency owner heads to prison in $4.7M scam

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Sarasota County resident Stephen Cormier pleaded guilty to charges last year.

TAMPA — Sarasota County resident Stephen Cormier was sentenced to three years and five months in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud through a title insurance company he owned.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew also entered a $4.7 million judgment against Cormier, 42, of Nokomis, according to a release. The money, the statement adds, is the proceeds of his fraudulent scheme. Cormier pleaded guilty March 5, 2013.

Cormier, according to court documents, was the sole owner of Venice-based title insurance firm A Clear Title and Escrow Exchange. In his capacity as a licensed escrow agent Cormier received funds from various individuals that were proceeds of fraudulent activity, prosecutors alleged. That includes investments made by numerous investor-victims related to “synthetic” financial transactions. These transactions generally involve promises of high rates of return within a short time period, the U.S. Attorney's offices states in the release. Financial authorities have called those types of transactions fraudulent.

Cormier, prosecutors add, disbursed those funds at the request of other co-conspirators. He also made false representations to the victims on the status and amount of their deposited funds. The total amount of investor funds Cormier handled was around $4.7 million.

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