Federal Appeals Court Affirms Florida Couple’s Conviction in Sinkhole Scam

May 23, 2017

A Florida couples’ wire fraud conviction has been upheld, according to a decision issued by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The couple, Glenn and Kathryn Jasen, were convicted last year after they failed to fix property damaged by a sinkhole and instead pocketed the insurance money. The Jasens sold their property after collecting more than $150,000 from their insurer resulting from a sinkhole claim they filed. At the time they sold their property, they did not disclose that a sinkhole existed on the property. Court documents indicated this misrepresentation occurred repeatedly in the property sales documents. According to the Court, “This evidence, taken in the light most favorable to the Government, demonstrates that the Jasens intentionally made material misrepresentations concerning their property that were calculated to deceive the buyer into purchasing the property.”

In a release issued in 2015, The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Middle District of Florida announced the couple’s indictment.

According to testimony and evidence presented at their 2009 trial, the Jasens discovered a sinkhole beneath their home in Spring Hill, Fla., and made a claim to Citizens Property Insurance. Citizens offered the Jasens the option of repairing the sinkhole or providing them a check to compensate for their loss. The couple opted to receive a check for $153,745.37. They kept the check and made only cosmetic repairs to the house before listing it for sale in 2013. They did not disclose the sinkhole to prospective buyers. Though required they were required to report it on a Florida real estate disclosure form, the Jasens denied any knowledge of a prior sinkhole or sinkhole claim. The home was ultimately sold to a family with five children. In March 2015, the family heard what sounded like a car crash in the earth beneath their house. They soon discovered a crack running across the floor of the house, and immediately had to evacuate.

A federal jury found the Jasens guilty of wire fraud in October 2015. They each faced a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. They were sentenced to five years probation and six months of house arrest.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.