Woman pulls gun on attorney, impersonates federal officer, still wins mortgage lawsuit

by Ryan Smith12 Feb 2014
A Montana woman who has been convicted of pulling a gun on an attorney and impersonating a federal officer has been awarded $6 million in a mortgage fraud lawsuit against US Bank.

Mary McCulley, 55, was awarded $5 million in punitive damages and $1 million in compensatory damages after a jury found the bank guilty of fraud in a mortgage transaction, according to a report by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

In 2006, McCulley decided to buy a condo in downtown Bozeman and sought a mortgage loan from Heritage Bank, which was later bought by US Bank of Montana, according to the Chronicle. She signed a promissory note and a deed of trust as collateral. After she signed, however, the designated use of the condo was changed on the deed from residential to commercial, allegedly without her knowledge.

After she closed on the condo, McCulley discovered that the bank had issued her an 18-month commercial loan rather than the 30-year mortgage she’d applied for, according to the Chronicle. Unable to obtain long-term refinancing, she was forced to sell the property to pay off the loan.

McCulley sued US Bank and American Land Title Co. in 2009, claiming the companies committed fraud by misrepresenting the loan. The county district court ruled in favor of the bank and the title company, but McCulley appealed to the Montana Supreme Court. While upholding the lower court’s dismissal of claims against the title company, the high court remanded the claims against US Bank back to the county district court, the Chronicle reported.

After a weeklong trial, a jury agreed with McCulley, finding US Bank liable for fraud.
McCulley was convicted of misdemeanor assault after being accused of pulling a gun on an attorney during an April 2012 mediation session. She claimed that she had forgotten the gun was in her pocket, according to the Chronicle.

Later this month, she’s scheduled to be sentenced in U.S. District Court for impersonating an FBI agent, a charge to which she pleaded guilty in October. According to the Chronicle, McCulley went in disguise to the home of a witness in the lawsuit and pumped her for information, claiming to be both an FBI agent and an agent from the Department of the Interior.


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