Last updated: April 10. 2013 11:19PM - 3550 Views

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SCRANTON — The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania said Tuesday Christine Tufts, 43, of Virginia, has agreed to plead guilty to mail fraud. Tufts was indicted by a federal grand jury in Scranton on Aug. 14, 2012.

  According to U.S. Attorney Peter J. Smith, Tufts was the owner of Foremost Settlement Services Inc., which had an office in Moosic. Tufts was an agent of First American Title Insurance Co. The indictment charged that from 2006 to 2008 Tufts issued title insurance on behalf of First American to clients who owned properties in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties. The clients took out mortgages to pay off prior mortgages or other loans.

  Tufts allegedly falsely represented to First American that the proceeds of the mortgage funds were being used to pay off the prior mortgages or other loans when, in fact, she allegedly kept the money for herself.

  The plea agreement was filed with the court on April 5. The case is assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Richard P. Conaboy. The case was investigated by the FBI and the prosecution is assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorney Lorna Graham.

WILKES-BARRE — A Mountain Top man charged with taking items from two local pharmacies pleaded guilty Tuesday to related charges.

Brian Pillonato, 46, with a last known address of Charter Drive, entered the plea to two felony counts of retail theft.

Court papers indicate Pillonato has several other pending retail theft cases and other charges on which he is awaiting sentencing set for July 9.

According to court papers, on June 9, Pillonato entered the CVS store in Hanover Township and took $294 in oral hygiene products.

On June 23, police said, Pillonato entered the Walgreens in Kingston and stole $330 worth of merchandise, including condoms and allergy medication.

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