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2 Get Jail Sentence in Loan Scam

Two North Hollywood men were sentenced to jail and ordered to pay restitution Friday after they pleaded guilty to charges that they used a phony loan scam to swindle hundreds of people across the country out of roughly $250,000.

Ernest Straughter, 30, and David Allen Straughter, 34, were part of a telemarketing scheme that solicited advance fees from victims for loans that were never made, according to the Los Angeles city attorney’s office.

Using slogans such as “Personal Loans. Bad Credit Okay. Easy to Qualify,” operators of the scam invited people to call a toll-free number for loans. When victims responded, they were told they qualified for a loan, but that to get it they had to send at least $250 by overnight delivery.

The two men each pleaded guilty to two counts of grand theft. Ernest Straughter was sentenced to six months in jail and David Straughter to nine months. David Straughter has agreed to help prosecutors convict others involved in the scam.

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Both men were arrested late last month. Another man arrested with them--39-year-old Walter Brown of Van Nuys--pleaded not guilty to charges and is scheduled to stand trial Aug. 15 in Los Angeles Municipal Court.


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