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Monday, Apr 14 2014 05:35 PM

Mortgage fraud defendant Julie Farmer to testify

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    By Felix Adamo/ The Californian

    Julie Farmer is the only person charged in the case who didn't take a plea deal.

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Mortgage fraud defendant Julie Farmer intends to testify in her own defense at her federal trial set to resume Tuesday.

"Julie Farmer wants to testify and bring out the true facts in this case," Farmer's lead attorney, Fresno lawyer Tony Capozzi, wrote in an email Monday.

It was unclear when Farmer might take the witness stand, but a spokeswoman for prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney's Office indicated the case may conclude this week. She added that the prosecution expects to wrap up its case by noon Tuesday, the trial's fifth day of testimony, at U.S. District Court in Fresno.

Earlier, the U.S. Attorney's Office indicated it might call more than 70 witnesses, including many Crisp & Cole defendants. So far it's called a tiny fraction of that.

Prosecutors have alleged Farmer was involved in directing a mortgage fraud ring led by David Crisp and Carl Cole, both of whom pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud. Each has been sentenced to 17 1/2 years in prison.

Farmer has maintained she was unaware of any illegal activity and was only following orders. She is the only one of 15 defendants without a plea deal.

Farmer faces charges of conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud, six counts of mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Prosecutors say people involved used straw buyers to obtain home loans fraudulently and then sold the properties multiple times to extract the "equity." Many of the properties went into foreclosure, costing lenders almost $30 million in losses.

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