50.5 F
Washington D.C.
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
spot_img

Former HSI Special Agent Pleads Guilty to Real Estate Cybercrime

A former U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) Special Agent pleaded guilty today to devising a wire fraud scheme that defrauded SunTrust Mortgage and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”) of over $40,000, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

Shauna Kay N. Sutherland, 37, of Corpus Christi, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud before U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola Jr. of the Southern District of Florida.

According to admissions in the plea agreement, Sutherland defrauded SunTrust Mortgage and Freddie Mac into allowing a short sale of her property in Gainesville, Ga., to a family friend who acted as a straw purchaser. Sutherland falsely represented that there were no hidden agreements and requested forgiveness of over $40,000 owed on the mortgage due to her purported financial hardship. 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.  Freddie Mac, which had by then purchased the mortgage, calculated a total loss of more than $42,000 as a result of this transaction.

In reality, however, Sutherland admitted that pursuant to the secret agreement with her family friend, Sutherland herself provided the purchase money for the short sale using funds wired to her by her mother. Sutherland remained the de facto owner of the property, collected rent from tenants and paid for maintenance. Sutherland adopted the straw purchaser’s identity to communicate by email about the property and signed that person’s signature on relevant documents. She also used the straw purchaser’s bank account as a conduit for financial transactions related to the property. Sutherland, through the straw purchaser, later sold the property in 2013 and used the proceeds to buy another property in Florida.

Sutherland will be sentenced on June 29 before U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola Jr. of the Southern District of Florida.

Read more at the Justice Department

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

Related Articles

- Advertisement -

Latest Articles