Woman pleads guilty to mortgage fraud

A 41-year-old Kershaw County woman pleaded guilty in federal court in Columbia on Tuesday to falsifying mortgage loan applications to mislead lenders.

Christie J. McGougan of Bethune could receive up to five years in jail and a fine of $250,000. She will be sentenced May 25, according to Kevin McDonald, acting U.S. Attorney for South Carolina.

FBI evidenced showed McGougan sold homes in the Lugoff-Camden area to unqualified buyers. She then got the buyers' loans approved by falsifying applications to various banks.

McGougan told buyers they didn't need a down payment. Many buyers later couldn't make the mortgage payments, and the homes ended up in foreclosure. Most buyers declared bankruptcy, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. McGougan made her money from the real estate sales commissions, the office said.

- John Monk