Man Found Slain in Laurel Home
The city of Laurel recorded its first homicide of the year Wednesday when the medical examiner's office ruled that a 44-year-old man found dead in his townhouse Tuesday was killed by blunt force trauma to his head, authorities said.
Andrew Sparacino, who lived alone in the 16000 block of Dorset Drive, was found dead by police Monday after relatives called to say that he had not shown up to work at a local Verizon office and that they had been unable to reach him for several days. Investigators immediately spotted the head trauma but were unsure whether someone had inflicted it or Sparacino had fallen. There were no signs of forced entry, and nothing was taken. "The house was secure," said Jim Collins, a spokesman for the Laurel Police Department. "All the doors and windows were locked. It seemed like whoever it was . . . the victim knew who this person was, or people."
-- Matt Zapotosky
Woman Held in Loudoun Scheme
A Loudoun County real estate agent, accused of fraudulently obtaining more than $50 million in mortgages for buyers who couldn't afford them, was arrested in Turkey on Wednesday and is awaiting extradition proceedings there, the Sheriff's Office said Thursday.
Diane H. Frederick Atari, 42, of Ashburn left the country in July after being indicted by a Loudoun grand jury for mortgage fraud. Atari owned and operated ACR Consulting and Atari Management. She is charged with targeting homebuyers who were unable to qualify for mortgages because of bad credit or low income. Authorities said she offered "rent-to-own" services for customers who wanted to eventually buy a house but used false information to help them get loans.
The scheme operated between 2006 and 2008. Atari was indicted for money laundering, racketeering and 10 counts of making false statements to obtain credit.
-- Tom Jackman