A couple who hired a former Miss Sweden to decorate their opulent property in the Bahamas is accusing the one-time beauty queen of interior design fraud.

As first reported by Law360, hotel magnate Henry Silverman and his wife Karen Silverman have filed a suit against interior designer Sofia Joelsson in Florida federal court. With a registered net worth of $300 million, Henry Silverman has at one point controlled hotel brands Howard Johnson’s Ramada, Super 8 and Travelodge.

According to the complaint, Joelsson defrauded them out of millions of dollars by overcharging clients through a network of shell companies and inside vendors.

@SoJoDesign | Twitter

“This enterprise is still in operation and still preying on new victims and has now extended out of Joelsson’s base in Florida to the Bahamas,” Silverboys LLC, the company owned by the Silvermans, said in a statement about the case. “It will continue until it is stopped by the legal system.”

Joelsson, who won the title of Miss Sweden in 1997, runs a Miami-based interior design studio called SOJO. According to her professional bios, she moved to the United States more than a decade ago in order to pursue a career in interior design. She has been working for the Silvermans’ Paradise Beach property since 2014. The Silvermans say they hired her both to decorate and help assess the fraud from a former team of contractors.

The lawsuit calls Joelsson a “penthouse queen” of South Beach and claims that she misled them to believe that SOJO was a licensed interior design firm when it wasn’t.

The Silvermans are asking for at least $7 million in damages based on alleged violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and Florida Deceptive and Unfair Practices Act. They further claim that Joelsson would arrange for contractors to give overinflated invoices and then launder the funds through various real estate purchases while keeping several sets of records for each transaction to defraud tax authorities.

Joelsson did not immediately return Inman’s request for comment. Now that the complaint has been officially filed in court, a trial date will be set to determine whether Joelsson committed the actions of which she is accused.

Email Veronika Bondarenko

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
The best event in real estate kicks off next week! Tickets are selling quickly.Register Now×
Limited time: Get 30 days of Inman Select for $5.SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription