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Former Prosecutor Charged With Forging Loan Papers

September 15, 2004|Daryl Kelley | Times Staff Writer

A veteran Los Angeles County prosecutor who resigned last year before being convicted of fraud has now been charged with forging her estranged husband's signature to gain $200,000 for restitution in the case and avoid a prison sentence, authorities said Tuesday.

Julie Marie Sergojan, 48, of Thousand Oaks was arrested last week after Ventura County prosecutors concluded that in October she had illegally borrowed money on a Sonoma County parcel owned by Paul Sergojan, a prosecutor in the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

"This is a case of a desperate woman who resorted to a sophisticated scheme using skills that her training gave her," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Marc Leventhal in Ventura County.

"Mr. Sergojan did not know about or consent to the loan," Leventhal said. "Ms. Sergojan also forged the signature of her deceased mother-in-law on a deed. [She] was able to carry out the scam because the transaction was conducted via the Internet, e-mail, fax and mail."

She is charged with seven felony counts, including identity theft, grand theft, forgery, recording a false instrument and being a convicted felon in possession of firearms.

She is free in lieu of $50,000 bail. She waived arraignment Tuesday, and it was reset for Sept. 28.

Julie Sergojan could not be reached at her home for comment. She had no attorney Tuesday, Leventhal said.

The California attorney general's office charged last year that Sergojan, a 20-year prosecutor, had used government computers to gain confidential information, create bogus companies and steal identities in a scheme to gain money from financial institutions.

Authorities said that Sergojan stole more than $96,000 from an equity line of credit from Bank of America by posing as a former San Marino landlord in 2002.

Although she faced 10 felony counts and pleaded guilty to four, Sergojan spent just one day in jail and avoided prison. She was sentenced to five years' probation, said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Sergojan paid restitution at the sentencing in January, and that may have influenced the penalty, authorities said.

But Ventura County prosecutors now allege that Sergojan obtained the restitution money through the loan on her husband's land near Coverdale, north of San Francisco.

He owned the parcel separately from his wife, Leventhal said.

"Ms. Sergojan posed as Mr. Sergojan and forged his signature on all of the necessary legal documents, including escrow instructions, a disclosure statement, the promissory note and deed of trust, and the check for the loan proceeds," Leventhal said in a written statement.

The case came to the attention of Ventura County authorities in June when the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department notified prosecutors of a complaint by Paul Sergojan, Leventhal said.

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