The former treasurer of one of the country's largest mortgage firms - Taylor, Bean & Whitaker - pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria to charges of participating in a $1.9 billion fraud scheme.

Desiree Brown, 45, of Hernando, Fla., was accused of participating in a scheme that contributed to the collapse of Colonial Bank in Alabama, one of the nation's largest regional banks. She was also charged with participating in a fraudulent but unsuccessful effort to extract $570 million of federal bailout funds from the Troubled Assets Relief Program. The case is being prosecuted by the Justice Department's criminal division and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

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