BALTIMORE (WBFF) - A 47-year-old Owings Mills woman has pleaded guilty to a major fraud scheme, seeking at least $8.7 million from both foreign and U.S. victims by claiming "to offer access to exotic bank financial instruments," according to a U.S. Attorney's Office press release.
Lauren Montillo worked with her father and ex-fiance to create shell companies, getting victims to pay more than $4.3 million in advance fees into Hong Kong bank accounts or attorney escrow accounts, and getting nothing in return.
Montillo also didn't report the income on her taxes, between 2012 and 2014.
Montillo's father created "Worldwide Escrow Holdings Limited" in Hong Kong in 2010 and opened a bank account for it at HSBC (Hong Kong Shanghai Bank), according to the press release.
Montillo often used the name "Kati Conti" in the frauds, as well as a "burner phone" so she could stop communicating with the victims when the scam was over, according to the release.
She will be required to forfeit $849,993.12 and pay restitution in the full amount of the loss, at least $4,342,540.
Three defendants in a related case in Texas also pleaded guilty; James Edward Cox and Kelly Ray Coronado pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy, and Gordon Richard Moscowitz pleaded guilty to money-laundering conspiracy.