Women admit guilt
in loan fraud

The scheme took fees in exchange
for loans that never materialized

Star-Bulletin staff

Two women, involved in a fraudulent "advance fee" scheme using HomeSavers-Hawaii and Hawaii International Funding Co., each pleaded guilty in federal court last week to three counts of mail fraud.

The scheme netted thousands of dollars in advance payments from dozens of clients, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release.

Arlene Estacion, 42, also known as Arlene Nii, entered her guilty plea on Thursday, and Tracy Kuhns, 32, pleaded guilty Friday.

The two women admitted they engaged in a fraudulent scheme that preyed on individuals facing foreclosure on their home mortgages or were in other financial trouble, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

As part of the scheme, the women promised to assist their clients in arranging loans through private investors for an advance fee paid up front.

Estacion and Kuhns also promised the advance fee payments would be refunded if they could not secure the loans. Instead, they admitted to spending the money for their own purposes.

Estacion and Kuhns face a maximum 5-year imprisonment term, a $250,000 fine and restitution payment to victims.

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