SD woman pleads guilty in $1.8M fraud case

A July 25 sentencing date is scheduled for a onetime San Diego resident who admitted making false statements to federal agents involving her role in a scheme with her boss to defraud La Jolla Bank and to cover up the fraud.
Laura Ortuondo, 33, worked for local small business owner Annand Sliuman. In her role as Sliuman's assistant, Ortuondo, among other things, helped him manage loans and loan applications to La Jolla Bank, according to court records.
In May 2008, Ortuondo helped Sliuman obtain a $1.8 million Small Business Administration loan from the bank by submitting two fraudulent tax forms on Sliuman's behalf, which falsely stated that he had satisfied certain tax liabilities, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Sliuman and Ortuondo submitted the fraudulent records to La Jolla Bank to make it look like he was eligible for the SBA loan, prosecutors said.
La Jolla Bank failed in 2010 and was taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. after the bank ran up debt totaling about $1 billion.
After assisting Sliuman in defrauding La Jolla Bank, Ortuondo undertook a nearly five-year effort to thwart a federal investigation of the fraud, according to court records.
Ortuondo told investigators that she was unaware she had submitted false documents, destroyed her personal laptop that contained incriminating evidence of the fraud and convinced her husband to lie, telling the agents that he got rid of the computer, according to court papers.
Sliuman, also 33, pleaded guilty in a separate case to bribing an officer of La Jolla Bank to approve loans on his behalf and admitted his role in the fraud conspiracy with Ortuondo. He is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 26.

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