Suthers' settlement nets restitution for consumers

Nick Rees Mar. 23, 2010, 12:00am


DENVER (Legal Newsline) - Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has reached a settlement, securing full restitution for victims of an alleged identity theft and commercial lending scheme.

Under the settlement, Donald Sterling Whitlock is prohibited from setting up any mortgage-related or other financial services businesses in the state of Colorado. Whitlock is also prohibited from using any aliases or fake businesses to conduct business in the state.

Additionally, under terms of the Denver District Court-approved settlement, Whitlock will pay $136,156 in restitution and $40,000 in civil penalties, fees and court costs. Whitlock is also liable for an additional $500,000 penalty if any undisclosed financial transactions related to the fraud scheme from April 1, 2007-March 4, are discovered by Suthers.

"This settlement is a tremendous victory for the people of Colorado and all of the victims of this complex fraud scheme," Suthers said.

"This conclusion is particularly remarkable given the speed we secured restitution for the victims and a court order preventing Mr. Whitlock from perpetrating the same fraud scheme again."

Whitlock, according to Suthers' suit, used a series of business entities with names similar to the lending arms of well known companies to defraud consumers. None of Whitlock's entities were affiliated with the real companies, Suthers claims.

Whitlock is suspected of convincing consumers to provide substantial upfront fees in securing loan commitments for real estate developments by using the entities he established. He is also suspected of stealing personal information from his victims that was secured for prospective investors and of using those identities to set up other fake businesses.

As part of the settlement, a complaint against Erin Reese Whitlock, Whitlock's wife, was dismissed.

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