The New Year brought unpleasant allegations for two Honolulu women charged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with multiple accounts of fraud, money laundering and other wrongdoings. In this case, 38-year-old realtor Sakara Blackwell and 46-year old Jennifer McTigue pled not guilty in United States District Court to 45 counts of illegal activity.
According to the office of the U.S. Attorney, the investigation into activities of the two women and another defendant in California led to the discovery of a sophisticated mortgage-elimination scheme involving the following features:
- Since 2011, the FBI alleges the defendants purchased financially distressed properties at foreclosure prices.
- False mortgage payment papers and other documents were prepared for filing with the Bureau of Conveyances.
- Once the mortgage clearance documents were filed with the Bureau of Conveyances, the properties could be sold again for a profit while reflecting a clean title.
- The FBI claims legitimate mortgages or liens cleared by fraudulent means totaled approximately $4.5 million.
- When resold, the properties netted the defendants approximately $3 million in profit split among them.
Federal charges for this type of activity are serious. Among the charges are 27 counts of mail fraud or wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Conviction on a single federal count of mail fraud could result in a 30-year prison sentence and a $1 million fine.
If you are arrested or if you know you are under investigation for white collar crime in Honolulu, speak to an experienced defense attorney for strategic advice and aggressive protection of your legal rights.