Former ICE Agent Admits To Defrauding Suntrust And Freddie Mac In Short Sale Straw Deal Gone Bad
Shauna Sutherland pleaded guilty this week to one count of wire fraud related to the scheme.
Sutherland admitted to defrauding SunTrust Mortgage and Freddie Mac as part of her plea agreement. She allowed a short sale of a property she owned in Georgia to a family friend who acted as a straw purchaser.
Sutherland also lied about there being no hidden agreements between her and the purchaser. She requested forgiveness of more than $40,000 owed on the mortgage as a result of her supposed financial difficulties.
SunTrust and Freddie Mac agreed to the short sale offer based on her false claims of hardship. Sutherland’s family friend purchased the property for approximately $34,000.
In exchange, SunTrust Mortgage and Freddie Mac released Sutherland from her outstanding obligation.
Freddie Mac, which owned the mortgage, calculated a total loss of more than $42,000 as a result of the short sale.
However, the transaction was not what it appeared.
Sutherland had a secret arrangement with the family friend. She provided the purchase money for the short sale herself. She used funds wired to her by her mother.
Thus, Sutherland remained the property’s de facto owner collecting rent from tenants and paying for maintenance.
The former ICE agent took on the straw purchaser’s identity and signed that person’s signature on various documents. Sutherland also used the straw purchaser’s bank account for financial transactions related to the property.
Additionally, Sutherland, still using the straw purchaser, sold the property in 2013 and used the proceeds to buy another property in Florida.
Sutherland will be sentenced on June 29.