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Local News in Brief : Man Pleads Innocent to Loan Fraud Charge

November 11, 1986

Aformer San Fernando Valley mobile-home dealer pleaded innocent Monday to charges that he bilked Great Western Savings & Loan out of nearly $300,000 in 1981 by filing false loan applications, the U.S. attorney's office announced.

William Joseph Sere, 47, formerly of Chatsworth, had been missing since 1982 until his arrest last Oct. 24 by FBI agents in Houston.

Sere, who entered his plea in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, faces a maximum penalty of 18 years in prison and a $45,000 fine if convicted on all nine counts against him.

According to a federal indictment issued in April, Sere obtained money from Great Western's Northridge branch for mobile homes that were not actually sold. He allegedly got the money by submitting customers' credit applications to the S&L.

Sere, who owned Gene's Mobile Homes, first of Van Nuys and later of Canyon Country, allegedly used part of the money to make monthly payments to the S&L that were purported to be from mobile-home buyers. But eventually he quit making the payments and left the area, according to the indictment.

In 1983, Great Western obtained $627,000 civil judgment against Sere in Los Angeles Superior Court.

When Sere was arrested, federal authorities learned of a Louisiana warrant charging him with selling a mobile home that he did not own, Assistant U.S. Atty. David A. Katz said.

Sere had been living as a fugitive in Louisiana under the name Guido Serio, Katz said.

Sere is free on $100,000 bond. Trial is scheduled for Jan. 13 before U.S. District Judge Mariana Pfaelzer.

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