Have You Seen This Suspected Loan Scammer?
A 30-year-old woman accused of using the internet to scam loan applicants is on the run from federal authorities. Sonata Bastien's last known address was in Boston, but investigators believe that she might have migrated to New Jersey or New York.
An indictment in Massachusetts charges that Bastien, also known as Sean Chase, promoted loans from September 2004 through June 2009, purportedly issued by companies identifed as Lantzy Financial Consulting, Light Docs, Birchmere Mortgage, Lognar Mortgage, and Nileland Mortgage.
Proseuctors say each company required up-front fees advertised as refundable, along with false mailing addresses. Victims were later instructed to send money to Bastien's Boston address. She's accused of placing the money into 18 bank accounts, using the cash to keep the ruse active and racking up personal expenses.
Bastien was charged with seven counts of mail fraud in February 2011, each punishable on conviction by up to 20 yaers in prison, three years supervised release, restitution, forfeiture and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gain or loss, whichever is higher.
She is described as African-American, with black hair and brown eyes, about 5'5" tall and about 150 pounds. Authorities advise that the suspect's appearance may no longer exactly match the photos.
Anyone with information that can help lead to Bastien's arrest and conviction is urged to call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, 1-877-876-2455. Prompt forward to Option 2.