Woman Sentenced To Prison For Identity Theft

Woman Sentenced To Prison For Identity Theft

8/28/2007 – A former mortgage broker who used a client’s identity to buy herself a $400,000 house in a plum Manchester neighborhood is headed to prison after her conviction today of identity theft and forgery.

A judge in Hartford Superior Court sentenced Elsa Joiner, 37, of Manchester, to a 12-year prison term, suspended after four years, plus five years of probation.

Joiner was working for Barclays Mortgage in 2004 when she became friendly with homeowner Carolyn Hamme, who was refinancing her property, police and court records say. Joiner kept Hamme’s information, and after she left Barclays she used it in November 2004 to finance the purchase of a house on High Ledge Circle in Manchester.

The House Photo
Joiner lived in the 3,000-square-foot, three bedroom house — complete with a whirlpool — for two years until the bank foreclosed on the property and she was arrested in June 2006.

According to court records and prosecutor Richard Rubino, Hamme didn’t know that Joiner had purchased a house in her name until a representative of the Ameriquest Mortgage Co. called to congratulate her on her new purchase.

Hamme learned that Joiner had used her credit information and forged her name on numerous documents. Hamme had to file a civil lawsuit to her name removed from the mortgage.

Joiner’s lawyer, Michael A. Peck, argued that Joiner should receive less than the recommended sentencing of four years because she was a single mother who didn’t have a criminal record before this case. Joiner, he said, got caught up in the “fast pace of refinancing” and she wanted to realize a dream of owning her own home.

“She is not a MIT rocket scientist. She was a dreamer,” Peck said.

Peck also questioned how Joiner could complete the forged paperwork during the closing in the presence of a lawyer and not be flagged as illegal.

Judge Thomas Miano said he has considered reporting the lawyer who handled the closing to authorities.

Joiner apologized to Hamme when she was asked to speak in her own defense.

Miano said he wasn’t convinced that she was really sorry.

“What comes out in her letter (to the court) and her pre-sentence report is she does not admit any kind of remorse,” Miano said, adding that Joiner told a probation officer she did not take anything from Hamme.

Miano, however, said Joiner stole the victim’s financial statements needed to purchase the house and she forged her name on 29 documents. The house cost $390,900.

“We’d all like that kind of home with no money down,” Miano said. “The victim never knew that this property was being purchased. Short of any serious injury, I can’t think of anything more insidious. This victim is going to have a hard time getting credit.”

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