Atari pleads guilty, will face sentencing
Diane H. Frederick Atari, the Ashburn woman and former realtor accused in a $50 million mortgage and credit scam, pleaded guilty on Oct. 11 to felony counts of making false statements to obtain credit and grand larceny.
Atari, who owned and operated ACR Consulting Co. and Atari Management Co., will return to court in February 2012 for sentencing. She was originally indicted on the charges on July 13, 2009.
Atari fled to Turkey in 2009 shortly before her indictment, where she was arrested in October of that year.
Since Atari had fled the country by the time of her indictment, local law enforcement had to contact Interpol to help find her. She spent more than a year in prison overseas before her extradition on Feb. 18.
“The investigation was not an easy one,” said Capt. Ken Pratt of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in February. “It deals with forensic audits and an attention to detail that goes beyond normal fraud and white collar crime investigations.”
Atari fixed her clients’ credit and inflated their incomes to qualify them for homes they couldn’t afford. Atari’s scheme is said to have obtained losses of more than $50 million in mortgages. She is also alleged to have obtained $1 million, personally, from the scheme.
“It’s been distorted and fabricated,” Atari said in court in February. “I’ve offered my cooperation and they’ve denied it. I’ve just tried to seek justice and truth.”
Her rhetoric has appeared to change in the past several months, as her attorney Steve Webster released the following statement on Oct. 11 after the plea.
“Diane Atari has today acknowledged the mistakes she made years ago. After reflecting on those mistakes and what she has learned from them, during the past several months she has fully cooperated with authorities and has agreed to assist a local Community Services Board in a program aimed at helping offenders readjust to society upon their release to help prevent recidivism,” Webster stated. “I commend the professionalism of [Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney] Mr. [Jim] Plowman and his staff in this matter as well as Investigator Tim Ortwein of the Sheriff’s Office.”
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Gigi Lawless was not immediately available for comment following the guilty plea. Atari will be sentenced Feb. 13, 2012.