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Emmetsburg Woman Arrested On Misappropriation Charges

By Staff | Oct 14, 2008

An investigation by several agencies resulted in the arrest of an Emmetsburg woman last week on several charges.

According to Emmetsburg Police Chief Eric Hanson, officers arrested 57-year old Jean Theresa Hoffert of Emmetsburg on Thursday, Oct. 9, pursuant to a valid Clay County warrant for an ongoing criminal conduct investigation. After her arrest, Jean Theresa Hoffert was unable to post the required bond and was subsequently transported to the custody of Clay County authorities.

Spencer Police Chief Mark Lawson says Hoffert was arrested following a lengthy investigation into an alleged home mortgage refinancing scheme. Hoffert, who operated an abstracting service in Spencer and then out of her home in Emmetsburg, is alleged to have served as a closing agent for people who re-financed homes for more favorable mortgage rates and kept money from second mortgages which was intended to pay off first mortgages for homeowners.

Lawson indicated that after lenders made the mortgage loans, Hoffert allegedly would not forward the checks to pay off the first loans and kept the money. Additionally, mailing addresses for the borrowers ended up being changed so that if payments were missed, the borrowers who thought their first mortgages had been paid off never received notice that they hadn’t. Those notices ended up in Hoffert’s mail instead.

The scheme was exposed when residents in Spencer applied for a home equity loan and discovered that their first mortgage had never been paid off, when they thought it had. Investigators are aware of at least four such schemes, two in Clay County totaling some $157,000, as well a two situations in Pocahontas County and one in Emmet County which add up to $280,000.

Hoffert was charged with two counts of Theft in the First Degree, a Class C Felony and one count of Ongoing Criminal Conduct as a result of the investigation. Authorities say the schemes have been ongoing over several years.

Assisting Spencer Police in their investigation were agents of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, United States Postal Inspection Service and the Emmetsburg Police Department. Additional charges are expected in the case.