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The U.S. District Court of Massachusetts sentenced broker Michael Flavin to 30 months in federal prison for manipulating homebuyers into signing $1.8 million in fraudulent contracts, according to The Real Deal on Sunday.
From 2017 to 2020, Flavin convinced multiple homebuyers he was the listing agent for homes that were actually not for sale. Flavin forged homeowners’ signatures on fake sale and purchase agreements and asked those buyers to submit earnest money deposits.
Court documents highlighted seven check deposits totaling $390,900 from victims who thought they were purchasing listings in Quincy, Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts. The smallest deposit was $19,400 and the largest was $129,500, both for properties in Quincy.
The Department of Justice said Flavin cashed those checks at Boston-area check cashing businesses and endorsed them in the name of the real estate business he claimed to represent. Although prosecutors didn’t list the business’ name, TRD noted Flavin once claimed to be the third-generation owner of Quincy-based real estate business Flavin and Flavin.
During the duration of his scheme, Flavin also deposited $612,032 into three personal checking accounts, which the Department of Justice said he used for personal expenses and reimbursements to buyers who requested their deposits back.
Altogether, DOJ prosecutors said Flavin cashed 60 checks worth $1.78 million.
In November 2020, prosecutors requested Flavin receive 20 years in federal prison and pay $500,000 in fines for two counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft.
Flavin eventually pled guilty to the charges in December, with his attorney Steven Boozang telling the Associated Press his client “accepted full responsibility for his actions” and had fully reimbursed the victims.
U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burrough handed down the final sentence on Sept. 28, which also includes three years of supervised release and restitution.