Attorney accused of wire fraud
A former Hillsborough County prosecutor faces a federal wire fraud charge alleging that she used fraudulent applications to take out $323,755 in loans, court records show. Attorney Paula Philbrook, of Brookline, had worked for several years as an assistant county attorney with the Hillsborough County attorney's office before leaving the office earlier this summer. On July 22, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Morse filed a wire fraud charge against Philbrook in U.S. District Court. Morse has declined to comment on the case, but said he expects that a plea agreement will be filed. No further documents have been filed since, and no hearings have been scheduled in the case, however. Philbrook could not be reached for comment Thursday. The wire fraud charge alleges that Philbrook received six different loans totaling $323,755 from First Tennessee Bank in Jackson, Tenn., between March 2006 and November 2007. Morse charges that she provided documents that overstated her income and assets in a scheme to get the loans by fraud, and deposited the money locally in accounts at TDBankNorth, Sovereign Bank and Bank of America. The alleged fraud took place while Philbrook was working as a prosecutor, handling cases mainly in the Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua. Like all prosecutors, she handled scores of cases at any given time, but her most prominent by far was the case of Theresa Bergeron, a Nashua woman serving 2 to 10 years in prison after she admitted to torturing her daughter with sleep and food deprivation. Philbrook's supervisor, First Assistant County Attorney Roger Chadwick, she he couldn't comment on the allegation. "She was employed from September 2004 and left our office May 13th of this year to take a new job in a private company. She left on good terms with our office," Chadwick said. According to Hillsborough County property records, Philbrook bought 1.8 acre lot at 1 Kemp Road, Brookline, in 2006, and had to pay a $11,550 land use change tax in addition to her $1,733 share of the sales tax. She got a $365,000 home construction loan from First Horizon Home Loan Corp., later that year, county records show. In 2007, she bought a 1.37-acre lot at 9 Cider Mill Lane, Brookline, paying $2,100 in property sales tax, with a $293,000 mortgage on the property from Great East Mortgage LLC.