A Lakeville woman who ran a sophisticated swindling operation while closing home mortgages is headed to prison for three years and three months, a Dakota County judge ordered Wednesday.

Kuntee Singramdoo, 50, had pleaded guilty to three felony counts of theft by swindle. Thirteen other theft and fraud charges were dismissed, as was a 17th count, for racketeering.

Singramdoo had confessed to investigators with the Minnesota Department of Commerce that she embezzled and misappropriated more than $223,000 in multiple ways, court papers say.

Arrest warrants have been issued for two cohorts, Henry A. Mezquita and Ariel Vassallo, who were involved with the loan applications.

"This was a complex mortgage fraud scheme that required a great deal of investigation," said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.

Singramdoo had been committing multiple forms of fraud, including forging checks, for nearly four years, but the complexity of real estate closings kept her from being found out sooner, Backstrom said.

Singramdoo was a licensed real estate closer and title insurer who worked as an independent contractor for Walsh Title & Real Estate Services of Burnsville. She did business under the name Excel Guarantee Closers Inc., according to court documents.

From February 2004 to February 2008, her duties included preparing and distributing checks from Walsh's trust account. One of the people whose transactions Singramdoo handled went to Walsh officials about a discrepancy between his settlement statement and money actually paid.

Investigators with the Minnesota Department of Commerce began collecting documents and obtaining search warrants for Singramdoo's bank accounts. They documented that she was hiking the value of property involved in transactions by thousands of dollars and channeling money from lenders to pay bills for herself or her family.

Backstrom said that although there's a lot of paperwork involving in mortgage closings, consumers and companies need to take time to understand them.

"It's easy to just ignore the details because of the complexity of the documents, but that's not a good idea for anyone," he said. "You really do need to read through them and have them explained to you if you don't understand what they're for. In the closings, she actually had itemized distributions to herself and others that were fraudulent, right on the forms themselves."

Wednesday, District Judge Shawn Moynihan sentenced Singramdoo to 21, 27 and 39 months, terms that will run concurrently.

Manny Munson-Regala, acting commissioner of the Department of Commerce, said that such mortgage fraud hurts consumers, the real estate market and the economy.

"Ms. Singramdoo's scheme hurt law-abiding citizens who saw the value of their homes drop after homes in their community were hit by foreclosure," Munson-Regala said.

Joy Powell • 952-882-9017