Isenberg in Bonner jail

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Isenberg

By RALPH BARTHOLDT

Staff Writer

Laurcene “Lori” Isenberg has been moved to the Bonner County Jail, where she remains under federal detention with no option to bond out of jail.

She was not released from jail Wednesday, as a Press headline inaccurately stated, but instead was transferred from Kootenai County to Bonner.

Isenberg, who became a federal prisoner last month, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to four federal charges at her arraignment in Coeur d’Alene’s U.S. District courthouse. She’s scheduled to appear again Dec. 11 for her trial.

A detention hearing, in which attorneys argue for or against having defendants released pending trial, has been canceled.

Isenberg, 64, was charged in February for allegedly stealing $579,000 from her former employer, the North Idaho Housing Coalition. The nonprofit uses federal grant money to buy and refurbish foreclosed properties before selling them as affordable homes to families with low and moderate incomes.

Her four charges include three counts of wire fraud for allegedly transferring stolen money from the coalition’s bank account to her own accounts, and one count of theft from a federal program.

Isenberg is accused of stealing U.S. Housing and Urban Development grant money that is distributed through the Idaho Housing and Finance Association. She transferred the stolen cash to her accounts over the last three years while she ran the housing coalition.

“Isenberg devised a scheme and artifice to defraud the Coalition, IHFA and HUD and to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses,” according to the indictment.

Her charges carry prison terms of between 10 and 20 years and fines of $250,000 each.

Two of her daughters, Jessica F. Barnes, 36, and Amber A. Hosking, 39, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit a federal program theft for accepting stolen money from Isenberg.

Isenberg was charged on state charges earlier this year in Coeur d’Alene’s First District Court. She skipped town after being released on bond and was arrested last summer. Her case was transferred from the state to federal prosecutors because at least some of the missing money belonged to the federal government.

Isenberg’s Dec. 11 trial is scheduled to last three days.

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