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FBI Arrests SoCal Real Estate Agent

SAN DIEGO (CN) - A San Diego real estate agent was arrested Friday and charged with running a $5 million mortgage fraud conspiracy, federal prosecutors said.

Kathryn Sylvester, 43, was arrested by the FBI and charted with submitting fraudulent mortgage applications for properties in San Diego and elsewhere, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

She is accused of recruiting straw buyers to buy properties by submitting fraudulent documents. "Although Sylvester promised some straw buyers that she would 'flip' a number of the properties for a profit, she systematically drained equity from the properties for her own benefit," the U.S. attorney said in a statement.

She is accused of doing this about 80 times. Twenty-eight of the properties went into foreclosure, costing lenders more than $5 million, prosecutors said.

Three alleged straw buyers/co-conspirators have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing: Claudia Montes, Tad Lent, and Roderick Michener, prosecutors said.

Sylvester is charged with conspiracy, 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of bank fraud.

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