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Title company owner pleads guilty to fraud charges

Authorities say a Maryland man has pleaded guilty to wire fraud for his role in a scheme to defraud lenders and a title insurance company of at least $937,000.

The plea agreement for 72-year-old Stephen Troese, of Davidsonville, was announced on Thursday by prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The government contends the loss is between $2.5 million and $7 million but the exact amount won’t be determined until sentencing.

Prosecutors say Troese and a co-defendant shared a joint escrow account in connection with real estate closings carried out by two title companies. Troese is accused of refinancing his home and using that money to help cover a shortfall in the escrow account. By 2005, the joint escrow account had a shortfall of more than $2 million.