Owners of Monroeville real-estate closing business set to face trial on theft charges

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Two women who co-owned a Monroeville real estate closing business were arraigned this morning on charges they stole more than $200,000 from one of their clients.

Diana Baleno, 56, of New Kensington, and Naomi Peters, 44, of Plum, are set to surrender this morning at Monroeville District Judge Jeffrey Herbst's office on charges of receiving stolen property, criminal conspiracy, theft and misapplication of entrusted property.

As owners of Ultimate Settlement Services LLC, Ms. Baleno and Ms. Peters are accused of using money intended to pay off a client's mortgage for their company's expenses instead.

Both women today waived their right to a preliminary hearing, online court records show. Their attorney, John J. Zagari, declined comment.

In April 2010, a North Huntingdon couple hired the women to refinance their home with a mortgage for $326,400. According to an Allegheny County district attorney's office criminal complaint, the money was to be used to pay off the couple's existing first and second mortgages.

Ultimate Settlement Services satisfied one but not the second mortgage of $230,000 to Bank of America, according to the district attorney's office.

The women "were entrusted with the fiduciary responsibility to forward these funds to Bank of America," district attorney's office Detective Jackelyn Weibel wrote in a criminal complaint. "Instead they utilized a portion of these funds (net of approximately $134,218.54) for Ultimate Settlement expenses."

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