Spokane Couple Charged In Equity Skimming Scheme

TUESDAY, FEB. 11, 1997

Tony Napier, a fugitive facing seven counts of equity skimming in Spokane County, was arrested Saturday night in Las Vegas.

His wife, Alicia Napier, turned herself in to Spokane authorities on Monday afternoon. Charged with one count of equity skimming, she was being held in the county jail in lieu of $5,000 bond.

Las Vegas police Det. Douglas O’Hair said Tony Napier was arrested at a private residence. He will be held without bond while authorities determine whether he wants to fight extradition to Washington, O’Hair said.

The Napiers are charged with taking at least $266,000 from Spokanearea homeowners using a practice called equity skimming.

Typically, one of the two would buy a home with short-term financing from the owner. The Napiers would then take out a larger loan against the property from another lender, usually Inland Acceptance L.P., authorities said.

The Napiers would then default on one or both loans. When the former owners were notified of a pending foreclosure, they would find that Inland stood to recover all or most of whatever equity there was in the property.

Inland, president Glen Ekstrom, and the Napiers were named Friday in a civil lawsuit filed by the state attorney general’s office that seeks an injunction, fines and restitution for victims of the alleged scam.

The criminal and civil complaints cover six separate transactions involving the Napiers, but authorities are asking other possible victims to come forward as part of their continuing investigation.

The number to call is Crime Check, 456-2233.

Tony Napier and businesses he controlled have been named in numerous civil and criminal actions dating back several years.

In 1992, the state settled a lawsuit with Napier claiming a business he co-owned, American West Financial, was brokering loans and offering credit services in violation of consumer protection and credit services laws.

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