A female real estate agent from Connecticut has been sent to prison after admitting her role in an elaborate short sale fraud which is just the latest in a string of cases to hit the headlines in recent months.
Norwalk resident Anna McElaney, 38, was given eight months jail time and a three-year supervision order upon her release from prison. She had faced a maximum 30-year jail term for the crime.
Along with her real estate partner Sergio Natera, McElaney was accused of defrauding the Regions Bank over a property in Bridgeport which it held two mortgages on. The two agents conspired together to fraudulently obtain almost $30,000 from the property’s short sale, which they were responsible for handling.
McElaney told the court that she was the real estate agent responsible for listing the home, and that she received two vastly different offers from prospective buyers. However, she admitted that instead of informing Regions Bank of the highest offer received, a $132,500 bid from a genuine buyer, she instead claimed there had been only one offer on the property, a $102,375 bid from the BOS Asset Management firm.
However, this company actually belonged to her partner Natera, another fact that McElaney didn’t inform the bank about. Her reason for not saying anything, of course, was because she and Natera planned to buy the home themselves and then immediately sell it on to the other interested party and reap the difference in price.
Regions Bank agreed to the lower priced short sale, believing that this was the maximum amount they were likely to receive for the property, allowing the two agents to retain almost $30,000 in profit from the scam.
Natera has also pleaded guilty to the same charges as McElaney, and is awaiting sentencing for his part in the fraudulent scheme.