- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) - A woman who sued US Bank alleging the company defrauded her when she sought a $300,000 loan to buy a condo in Bozeman has been awarded $6 million in damages.

A Gallatin County jury on Friday awarded Mary McCulley $1 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages for fraud, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle (http://bit.ly/Nz7tV2 ) reports.

McCulley, 55, sued US Bank and American Land Title Co., in October 2009, alleging that between the time she signed the promissory note and when the loan went through, the condo’s deed changed from residential to commercial use and her expected 30-year mortgage became an 18-month commercial loan. She was unable to refinance, so she sold the condo to repay the loan.

U.S. District Court Judge Julie Brown dismissed the case in January 2012. The Montana Supreme Court upheld the dismissal against the title company, but remanded the fraud claims against US Bank back to Gallatin County.

After a weeklong case, jurors returned their verdict in favor of McCulley.

“I was just overwhelmed with gratitude,” McCulley said Monday. “(Banks) have behaved badly, not just in my case. .. Somehow I’m hoping this will be a lesson, and maybe there will be some changes.”

Patricia Peterman of Billings, one of McCulley’s attorneys, said the verdict was fair and they were pleased with the outcome.

Charles Peterson, lead defense attorney for US Bank, is out of the office this week and unavailable for comment.

During an April 2012 mediation session in the lawsuit, witnesses said McCulley pulled a gun on an attorney. She was charged with felony assault with a weapon and spent more than 10 months in jail with bail set at $1 million before being convicted of a misdemeanor in March 2013.

Later this month, McCulley will be sentenced in U.S. District Court in Butte. She pleaded guilty to a federal charge of impersonating an FBI agent in April 2012 and saying she was conducting a securities investigation of US Bank while apparently trying to get information from a witness in the case.

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Information from: Bozeman Daily Chronicle, http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com