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Former Bank of America worker sentenced for fraud

    A Bank of America branch is shown in Charlotte

LOS ANGELES » A former Bank of America employee was sentenced Monday to 2½ years in federal prison for taking more than $1.2 million in bribes, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said.

Kevin Lauricella, 29, of Thousand Oaks was also ordered to pay $5.7 million in restitution to Bank of America and forfeit the home that he bought with some of the bribe money, prosecutors said.

Lauricella used his position to approve fraudulent short sales, resulting in at least $5.7 million in bank losses, officials said.

Lauricella pleaded guilty in January to receiving bribes and making false entries in the bank’s books and records. He worked for Bank of America in 2010 and 2011 and was responsible for negotiating short-sale transactions, which occur when a lender allows a property to be sold for less than the existing loan balance.

Prosecuting attorney Ranee Katzenstein said the Lauricella case is part of a larger probe and that investigators are looking into the parties that offered Lauricella the bribes in exchange for approving short sales.

Short sales are usually done because the borrower can no longer make the payments due on the loan or because the value of the property has dropped below the amount due on the loan.

Lauricella used his position to approve short sales that were far below the fair-market value of the properties and that he was not authorized to approve, Katzenstein said.

Lauricella’s lawyer did not immediately reply to a phone message seeking comment.

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