Three people accused of operating a multimillion-dollar mortgage-fraud scheme in Florida pleaded guilty to criminal charges Friday, the same day a federal grand jury indicted four others in the case, the Florida Herald Today reported.

In a federal courtroom in Tampa, Fla., Todd A. Kolbe, Kirk McVey and Amy Samelson Kolbe – all of Sarasota County – each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, media reports said. Todd Kolbe also pleaded guilty to a bank fraud conspiracy charge in an unrelated case, reports said.

The pleas were part of deals reached with prosecutors, according to the Herald Today. Each count carries a possible sentence of five years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine, although prosecutors agreed to recommend sentences at the low end of sentencing guidelines, media reports said.

The defendants also agreed to testify against others, including four who were indicted Friday: Mary Bolan, 45, a Bradenton real estate agent; Taya Parodo, 39, of Sarasota, who owns a Bradenton title company; Todd Kerber, 40, and his wife, Kelly Abercrombie, 41, both of Sarasota, media reports said.

Each was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, 10 counts of mail fraud and 10 counts of wire fraud, according to reports. If convicted of all counts, each could be sentenced to 105 years in prison and ordered to pay $5.25 million in fines, the Herald Today reported.

The seven defendants were accused of taking part in an illegal real estate “flip” scheme involving 30 single-family houses and condominium units in Manatee and Sarasota counties, reports said. Five of the properties were in Sarasota, according to reports.

In his plea, Todd Kolbe admitted that he bought the 25 East Manatee residences at fair-market value in late 2001 and early 2002, reports said. He admitted he then created fake appraisals to sell the properties to McVey, his sister-in-law Amy Kolbe, Kerber and others for two to three times what the properties were worth, according to reports.

The buyers submitted false loan applications and leases to obtain mortgages from Sovereign Mortgage Co., which Todd Kolbe and Abercrombie operated. Sovereign later sold the mortgages to Home Star Mortgage Services Inc. of New Jersey, now known as Opteum Financial Services LLC, which employed Todd Kolbe as its top Florida executive at the time, reports said.

The buyers defaulted on the loans and the properties went into foreclosure, according to reports.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to janis@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 140.

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