A loan officer in Tacoma, Wash., is accused of stealing more than $8,500 in fees designated for an early-mortgage-payoff program and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

The Financial Crimes Unit of the state Attorney General’s Office has filed charges against J. Anthony Hansen, 42, of Tacoma, for one count of first-degree theft and six counts of second-degree theft and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

The charges were filed last Thursday at the request of the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions with assistance from the state’s mortgage lending fraud prosecution fund.

According to charging papers filed in Clark County Superior Court, Hansen was an independent contractor with Country Home Finance for 26 months. During this time, he charged several customers, on average, $600 for a mortgage-payment acceleration program, court papers said.

Hansen used advertising materials obtained from Equity Corp., a Florida corporation, and claimed he would enroll customers in the mortgage payment acceleration program, according to court papers. However, according to the charging papers, none of the customers were actually ever enrolled in the program with Equity Corp.

It is alleged that on eight occasions Hansen obtained money from his clients by deception, the Attorney General’s office said.

The first-degree theft charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. Each second-degree theft charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The investigation began after a report was made to Country Home Finance about Hansen’s activities, the Attorney General’s office said.

This is the second case filed by the Attorney General’s Financial Crimes Unit as a result of the fund. The first case resulted in the sentencing of a Grays Harbor County, Wash., woman for embezzling more than $325,000 in funds from the trust account of Ocean Shores Escrow Inc., the Attorney General’s office said.

The state’s mortgage lending fraud prosecution fund was created by the Legislature in 2003 to aid prosecutors in bringing mortgage lending fraud cases. Funding is generated through a $1 fee for each recording of a deed of trust.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to janis@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 140.

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