David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, has announced that Anna McElaney of Norwalk, Conn. has been sentenced by U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in Bridgeport to eight months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, the first six months of which McElaney must spend in home confinement, for her involvement in a short sale mortgage fraud scheme.
According to court documents and statements made in court, McElaney, a real estate agent, along with fellow real estate agent Sergio Natera, defrauded Regions Bank, which held two mortgages on a residential property in Bridgeport, Conn. On Dec. 5, 2007, McElaney, who was a listing agent for the property, received an offer to purchase the property for a price of $132,500. However, McElaney and Natera informed Regions Bank that the highest offer to purchase the property was for $102,375 and that it was made by BOS Asset Management LLC. McElaney and Natera concealed from Regions Bank that there was a higher offer by another bidder, that Natera owned BOS Asset Management LLC, and that McElaney and Natera planned to keep the difference between the two prices. Based on the false and incomplete information provided to it, Regions Bank agreed to the short sale for the lower price, and released its mortgages on the property.
On June 9, 2008, McElaney and Natera arranged for two sales of the property to occur on the same day. The first sale was from the owner of the property to BOS Asset Management LLC for $102,375; the second sale was from BOS Asset Management LLC to the original bidder on the property for $132,500. McElaney and Natera retained the difference between the two sale prices.
“This prosecution should serve as a warning to real estate agents and others who seek to take advantage of the current financial crisis by defrauding lenders through short sale fraud schemes,” said U.S. Attorney Fein.
On Feb. 19, 2010, McElaney pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud. Natera pleaded guilty to the same charge on Feb. 11, 2010 and currently awaits sentencing.