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Financial Crimes
12/11/2009

L.A.-area woman arrested in low-interest loan fraud scheme

LOS ANGELES - A Valencia woman was arrested Friday on wire fraud charges that allege she collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in "advance fees" from victims who were promised low-interest, multi-million dollar loans from the "Federal Reserve Bank."

Pamela Terry, 40, was taken into custody without incident earlier this afternoon by federal agents at a hotel in West Hollywood, Calif. Terry will be held in custody over the weekend and is expected to make her initial court appearance on Monday in United States District Court in Los Angeles.

The charges against Terry are the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Office of Inspector General of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The Los Angeles Police Department also provided assistance.

Terry is named in a criminal complaint filed November 9 that charges her with one count of wire fraud, a felony offense that carries a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison. The affidavit in support of the complaint alleges that Terry, who held herself out as an employee of the "Federal Reserve Bank," fraudulently promised more than a dozen victims 30-year business loans at a fixed rate of 2.3 percent.

Terry told a man she hired as her loan consultant and approximately 15 identified victims that she could secure the loans without any standard documentation because she worked directly with the head underwriter of the "Federal Reserve Bank." As part of the loan program, Terry required her customers to make up-front payments that she called "minimum capital requirement," which were generally about 15 percent of the total loan amount.

The complaint alleges that Terry collected approximately $2 million from about 15 loan customers, none of whom received a loan nor saw the return of their "minimum capital requirement." In the case of one loan customer discussed in the affidavit, Terry said the delay in the funding of a $20 million loan was being caused by the failure of IndyMac Bank. The bulk of a $600,000 payment for the "minimum capital requirement" was transferred to an account Terry controlled and, in the course of just one month, tens of thousands of dollars were withdrawn as cash or used to pay retailers such as Nordstrom, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel.