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Accountant pleads guilty in mortgage fraud scheme

Federal prosecutors say an escrow accountant for a title company has pleaded guilty to charges related to a $1.7 million mortgage fraud scheme.

Brenda Lukenich, of Hughesville, pleaded guilty Wednesday to mail fraud. Prosecutors say two co-defendants are scheduled to go to trial next month.

According to her plea agreement, Lukenich was the escrow accountant for title companies that did business in Baltimore, Annapolis and Washington, D.C.

Prosecutors say that in 2006, reconciliation reports prepared by Lukenich showed there were shortages in a joint escrow account. Lukenich was accused of altering reconciliation reports to falsely show that there were not escrow shortages. Prosecutors say after each audit, Lukenich would reverse the fraudulent adjustments.

She faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Sentencing is set for Jan. 12, 2012.