Belleville woman receives 33-month sentence for structuring and mortgage fraud

By Jeff Bahr

Belleville —

Kim S. Morris, 42, of Belleville, a part-time court clerk at the Essex County Courthouse, was sentenced to 33 months in prison on Jan. 23 for her participation in a mortgage scheme that defrauded Wells Fargo bank, and for structuring money orders to evade transaction reporting and identification requirements.

According to court documents, Morris confessed to applying for a mortgage loan at Wells Fargo bank in January 2008 when she completed a fraudulent Uniform Residential Loan Application to procure $624,000 for a home loan. The application contained a number of material misrepresentations including the inflation of Morris’ personal income and falsifying the name of her employer. Operating directly off of this faulty information, Wells Fargo extended a home loan to Morris.

Morris came clean about her role in the illegal structuring of money orders. She admitted that, during a period stretching from March 2008 through June of 2009, she structured approximately 110 money orders totaling $84,855.55 specifically to evade reporting and identification requirements.

In addition to her jail sentence, Morris received three years of supervised release and was ordered to forfeit $708,855. It’s unclear if Morris has retained any or all of the proceeds from the crimes, but in the event that she isn’t able to square the debt, authorities will seize other assets or work out a long-term payment plan, according to Office of Public Affairs spokesperson Rebekah Carmichael.

U.S. attorney Paul Fishman credited U.S. Postal inspectors, under the director of Postal Inspector in Charge Philip R. Bartlett of the Newark Division; special agents with the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell in Newark; and special agents with IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge JoAnn S. Zuniga in Newark, for the investigation leading to the sentence.

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