Ohio Realtor Gets 18 Months in Agent Fraud Case

Rotten real estate agents are a dime a dozen, but usually the unethical actions do not end up with time behind bars. In this agent fraud case, however, the agent ended up right where she belongs: in jail.

Agent Fraud Background

Agent Bonnie Helt was sentenced to 18 months for conspiring to commit bank fraud, conspiring to obstruct justice, and tampering with witnesses.

Helt was indicted in 2009 along with convicted home builder Thomas Parenteau and accused accountant Dennis Sartin in a tax evasion scheme and a plot to defraud lenders out of millions of dollars.

Helt pleaded guilty to the bank fraud and obstruction charges, and as part of the plea deal forfeited $124,5444 in commissions earned on the agent fraud deal. Prosecutors recommended 2 years and 9 months in the plea deal, but the judge reduced the sentence to two concurrent 18 month sentences.

Agents Should Know Better

Helt’s attorney argued that his client was naive and manipulated by her co-conspirator, but the judge didn’t buy it. A licensed real estate agent should know better, and has the responsibility to be both familiar with the law and act in an ethical manner. Bonnie Helt did neither in her act of agent fraud.

Agents should know better than to commit fraud, but any long-time reader of this site knows that is not the case. If you want to avoid a bad Realtor in the future, start your agent search at AgentHarvest.

Read the entire story at the Columbus Dispatch.