Although she did not falsify documents or engage in fraudulent appraisals, Anna McElaney, a Norwalk real estate agents, will spend eight months in a federal prison and the following three years under supervised release due to her involvement in a fraudulent short sale transaction[1]. McElaney and another real estate agent, Sergio Natera, placed “low-ball” offers on bank-owned properties, then failed to inform the lenders when better offers came in. Once they purchased the properties, they “quickly sold [them] for a profit,” according to court documents. McElaney has been accused of – and admitted to – being involved in similar transactions involving other properties in the area. U.S. attorney David Fein stated that he hopes that the sentence “should serve as a warning to real estate agents and others who seek to take advantage of the current financial crisis by defrauding lenders.” McElaney’s attorney, however, is pleased that she received roughly a third of the minimum 21 months in prison considered appropriate for her offense and routinely sought by government prosecutors.  He stated that he believes that her abbreviated sentence is due to “the kind of person [McElaney] is, how well she is regarded by family, friends and people she works with.”

Do you think that the sentence McElaney was given is appropriate? Given that she did not actually falsify documents, should it have been less or more?

Thank you for reading the Bryan Ellis Real Estate Letter!

Your comments and questions are welcomed below.


[1] http://articles.courant.com/2011-07-26/business/hc-short-sale-fraud-sentence-0727-20110726_1_short-sale-short-sale-fraud-mcelaney-and-natera