Two plead guilty

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   GREENEVILLE - An Elizabethton man and woman pleaded guilty in federal court on Monday to a charge of wire fraud.
   According to information from the office of Harry S. Mattice, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Joseph Todd Fields, 38, and Misty Marie Strong, 33, pleaded guilty to the charge in U.S. District Court before Judge J. Ronnie Greer.
   A sentencing hearing for both Fields and Strong has been scheduled for June 7 at 9 a.m. in Greeneville.
   A factual summary filed in support of the guilty pleas states that Fields operated a mortgage brokerage business, Advantage One Equity Services of America, in Elizabethton, and he also operated a title company, Action Title LLC, with Strong.
   According to information released by Mattice, Fields and Strong submitted false documents to Decision One Mortgage Company, a Charlotte, N.C.-based financial services company, in December 2003 in a scheme to defraud that company. The two used the falsified documents to obtain funding for a loan which Advantage One was allegedly brokering.
   "After Decision One wired the loan proceeds to an account of Action Title at a Johnson City bank on Dec. 16, 2003, Fields and Strong used the approximately $112,000 to pay off earlier insufficient funds checks which had been written on the businesses' bank accounts," Mattice said in a released statement. "Fields then made other misrepresentations to Decision One to conceal the conversion of the loan proceeds."
   Fields and Strong were arrested on Jan. 12 when they went to the bank to withdraw the remaining funds from the account.
   The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Johnson City Police Bureau.