Former ICE Agent Pleads Guilty to Fraud In GSE, SunTrust Short Sale

National Mortgage News - - Servicing - By Bon­nie Sin­nock

A spe­cial agent who used to work for an in­ves­tiga­tive arm of Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment pleaded guilty to de­fraud­ing Fred­die Mac and SunTrust Mort­gage through a short sale.

The former Home­land Se­cu­rity In­ves­ti­ga­tions agent, Shauna Kay N. Suther­land of Cor­pus Christi, Texas, ad­mit­ted in a plea agree­ment that she al­lowed a short sale of her prop­erty in Gainesville, Ga., to a fam­ily friend who was a straw buyer.

“Suther­land falsely rep­re­sented that there were no hid­den agree­ments and re­quested for­give­ness of over $ 40,000 owned on the mort­gage due to her pur­ported fi­nan­cial hard­ship,” ac­cord­ing to a De­part­ment of Jus­tice press re­lease.

“Based on those ma­te­rial rep­re­sen­ta­tions, SunTrust Mort­gage and Fred­die Mac ac­cepted the short sale of­fer, with the fam­ily friend ‘pur­chas­ing’ the prop­erty for ap­prox­i­mately $ 34,000, in ex­change for SunTrust Mort­gage and Fred­die Mac re­leas­ing Suther­land from her out­stand­ing debt.”

But Suther­land se­cretly used funds wired to her by her mother to fund the fam­ily friend’s pur­chase of the short sale, col­lected rents from the prop­erty, paid for main­te­nance, and even­tu­ally sold the prop­erty to buy another piece of real es­tate in Florida, all in the straw buyer’s name.

Fred­die Mac cal­cu­lated a to­tal loss of $ 42,000 from the trans­ac­tion.

Suther­land pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud be­fore U.S. Dis­trict Judge Robert N. Scola Jr. of the South­ern Dis­trict of Florida, and faces sen­tenc­ing in June. The Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion, the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity’s Of­fice of In­spec­tor Gen­eral, and ICE’s Of­fice of Pro­fes­sional Re­spon­si­bil­ity all in­ves­ti­gated the case. The U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion Of­fice of Pro­fes­sional Re­spon­si­bil­ity also as­sisted in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

In gen­eral, dis­tressed home sales — in­clud­ing real es­tate owned, third-party fore­clo­sure auc­tion sales and short sales — ac­counted for 14.7% of all sin­gle-fam­ily home and condo sales in the first quar­ter, up from 13.6% in the fourth quar­ter of 2017 but still down from 16.9% for the first quar­ter of 2017, ac­cord­ing to Attom Data So­lu­tions.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.