A Mississippi attorney and the son of a high-profile Baptist pastor were among eight people who appeared in U.S. District Court Thursday in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme, media reports said.

Hattiesburg, Miss., attorney Kim Castle entered a plea of not guilty through her attorney Ray Price, reports said. She is accused of bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, according to reports.

Vaston Fairley, the 25-year-old son of the Rev. Kenneth Fairley, senior pastor of Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, Miss., also pleaded not guilty to bank and wire fraud charges, accounts said.

“I feel confident that my client will be exonerated,” Joe Hollomon of Jackson, Miss., Fairley’s attorney, told the South Mississippi Sun Herald.

According to the indictment, Fairley and Castle both worked for Richard Lucas, who was identified as the controlling person for Lucas Development and several other affiliated companies, reports said.

Lucas was named in the indictment and is expected to be arraigned in federal court next week on charges of bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, according to reports.

Also indicted was Jafus Jones Jr., who entered pleas of not guilty to bank and wire fraud, the Sun Herald reported.

Four others – Kenneth Stalnaker, Loretta Joy Champ, Kristy N. Packer and Marcy R. Irby – were indicted on bank fraud and wire fraud charges and also are expected to be arraigned next week, according to reports.

The charges stem from an investigation that has been ongoing at least since 2003 of a mortgage scheme that involves inflated appraisals and fraudulent documents used to obtain loans, the Sun Herald reported.

The investigation also has nabbed three others who already entered pleas in court, reports said. A trial date of March 20 has been set for all defendants, according to reports.

***

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

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