Real estate agent gets 10 years for sale of spec homes to straw buyers

A real estate agent who helped a builder sell six spec homes in Medina, Ohio, to straw buyers has been sentenced to 125 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $3 million in restitution.

Prosecutors said that when Joseph Beccia’s Horizon Construction had trouble selling six luxury homes built in 2006 and 2007 at the tail end of the boom, real estate agent Thomas G. France, 44, prepared purchase agreements for the homes to straw buyers at inflated purchase prices, and relisted five of them. All of the homes went into foreclosure after they were sold, costing lenders $3.3 million, prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio said.

Seven people were indicted in the case in June 2013. Beccia, a 63-year-old Richfield, Ohio, resident, was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay more than $3 million in restitution. One of the straw buyers, Alex Blackmore, a 50-year-old Bronx, New York, resident, was sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to pay more than $3 million in restitution. Source: justice.gov.

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