‘Bills were tight.’ Real estate couple stole $300K by creating fake contracts, feds say

Julio Cortez/AP
·3 min read

A husband and wife real estate team was sentenced to prison after federal prosecutors say they stole more than $300,000 by creating fake sales contracts for several properties — including some that were never up for sale in Virginia.

“Bills were tight,” the husband told investigators when asked why the couple carried out the scheme in which they sent at least 19 fake sales contracts to advance commission companies to quickly get money, according to court documents.

After receiving the seemingly legitimate contracts, including some that listed nonexistent buyers and sellers, these companies would loan the couple money before the purported closing date of a property sale, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia.

The husband, Jessee Allen DeLoach, 40, and wife, Natasha Ashley Miller DeLoach, 38, of Wise, were each sentenced to 15 months in federal prison after they both pleaded guilty to wire fraud, an Aug. 4 news release from the attorney’s office says.

McClatchy News contacted attorneys listed for the husband and wife for comment on Aug. 5 and was awaiting a response.

The pair must also pay $146,273 in restitution after using the real estate agency they owned, Koltown Properties, Inc., to submit the fake contracts between 2016 and 2019, according to the release.

“The DeLoaches’ fraud scheme is the type of crime that is difficult to detect and time-consuming to investigate and prosecute,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

As part of the scheme, the couple is accused of using other people’s names and signatures, without them knowing, to list them as sellers of a particular property on the fake sales contracts, according to a complaint.

In one instance in February 2019, the DeLoaches wrote the identities of two victims as sellers of a property and put down Jessee DeLoach’s name as the selling and listing agent in a fake contract, the complaint shows. This property, which was not actually on the market, was supposedly purchased for $610,000.

Then, this contract was emailed to an advance commission company, which provided the couple with a $13,000 loan ahead of the fake closing date of April 2019, according to the complaint. For this advance, Jessee DeLoach agreed to pay a $1,560 fee.

At times, the couple would submit the same fake sales contract to several advance commission companies nationwide “to obtain multiple commissions off the same fake sale,” prosecutors say.

The couple also doctored legitimate sales contracts to say they were the only real estate agents involved “to double their claimed sales commissions,” the release says.

“Then, to prevent the commission advance companies from catching onto their scheme, they created fictitious title companies to verify the fraudulent contracts,” prosecutors wrote in the sentencing memorandum.

With these fake companies, prosecutors say the pair created email addresses and phone numbers to communicate with the advance commission companies in furtherance of the scheme.

When Jessee DeLoach was asked if the amount of money he and his wife obtained was between $300,000 to $500,000, he said “I am not sure, it could be,” according to the complaint.

Wise is in western Virginia, about 120 miles northeast of Knoxville, Tennessee.

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