A Massillon title agency operator was charged with defrauding financial institutions out of more than $2 million by having escrow funds on home purchases deposited into her personal account, Acting U.S. Attorney David A. Sierleja said in a news release Friday.
Kimberlee E. Himmell, 62, was charged with 18 counts of bank fraud and one count of theft of government funds.
Himmell owned and operated Netwide Title Agency Inc. at 3711 Lincoln Way E. in Massillon. General Title Insurance Co., located in Cleveland, was Netwide’s underwriter and responsible for auditing Netwide, according to the information.
According to criminal information filed in the case, Himmell instructed lenders doing business with the title agency to wire incoming lending proceeds to her personal account, instead of Netwide’s corporate account.
The filings with the U.S. Justice Department say Himmell took the deposited funds for her personal use and for Netwide’s operational expenses without disclosing to lenders that she was not holding the funds in escrow.
The case involves at least 19 real estate transactions in 2013 and 2014, including financial losses to lenders and/or sellers of homes in Akron, Brunswick, Medina, North Canton, Twinsburg and Wadsworth as well as other Northeast Ohio communities.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark S. Bennett following an investigation involving several federal agencies.