– A real estate broker from Punta Gorda was sentenced last week to six months in federal prison for committing wire fraud against the Federal National Mortgage Association.
Hollie Darlene Dustin, 60, pleaded guilty in June to fraudulently submitting invoices for services on foreclosed properties she handled for Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored enterprise that buys mortgages from lenders.
U.S. District Judge Sheri Polster Chappell also ordered Dustin to serve three years of supervised release, perform 100 hours of community service and pay $34,001 in restitution, which was the proceeds of the wire fraud. That amount is less than the nearly $150,000 that prosecutors initially said she made from the scheme.
She also was ordered to not work in the real estate business. Once assigned a prison, she must surrender by Feb. 4.
Dustin’s attorney asked for a sentence of probation, noting her lack of previous criminal history and her acceptance of responsibility for her actions.
Her company, Home Choice Real Estate, contracted with Fannie Mae to manage and perform preservation services, such as lawn and pool maintenance, on homes that Fannie had taken through foreclosure. That agreement prohibited Dustin from using any vendors that she controlled to do the work.
“Dustin fraudulently used ProPreserve, a company that she controlled, to perform preservation services on the properties without Fannie Mae’s knowledge or consent,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release. “She then submitted approximately 550 fraudulent ProPreserve invoices for HCRE, which Fannie Mae paid.”
She also created inflated ProPreserve invoices for work already performed by other vendors, then submitted those false invoices to Fannie Mae for payment, prosecutors charged.
She used interstate wires to fraudulently submit the invoices to Fannie Mae.
© 2018 Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla., John Hielscher. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.