Baltimore Co. title company owner pleads guilty to wire fraud

The 44-year-old owner of a Baltimore County title company pleaded guilty Friday to wire fraud related to a scheme to defraud homeowners, lenders and a title insurance company of more than $2.2 million.

A federal grand jury charged Daniel E. Fink Jr. of Baltimore, owner of Homemaxx Title & Escrow LLC, in March 2009 with wire fraud and money laundering. According to the plea agreement, Fink arranged for his company to do title work for residential closings and refinancings, then concealed crucial facts about title insurance issued to homebuyers or borrowers who refinanced. The fraud occurred between February 2003 and July 2004, the plea agreement said.

The scheme also included cases in which Fink told lenders he was buying property and obtained a loan, but instead bought only the property's ground rent and used the rest of the loan for himself, according to the plea agreement. Fink also failed to properly distribute escrow funds after settlement to pay outstanding first mortgages.

The plea agreement announced by Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, requires Fink to pay restitution for victims' losses. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine but could receive four years if the court accepts the plea.