City woman sentenced in real estate fraud scheme

She gets year and a day for using straw buyers

September 02, 2004|By Stephanie Hanes | Stephanie Hanes,SUN STAFF

A Maryland woman known to federal agents as a relentless con artist was sentenced in Baltimore's federal court yesterday to a year plus one day in prison for using straw buyers to acquire and flip properties.

Deborah Kolodner, 49, admitted in court documents that she had ignored a judge's order forbidding her from practicing real estate or handling anyone else's money.

Kolodner, of Baltimore, was on supervised release after serving time in prison for other fraud charges when prosecutors say she started her most recent real estate scheme.

Between 1999 and 2002, she arranged straw buyers for properties in Baltimore, Towson and Myrtle Beach, S.C., prosecutors said, and submitted false documents to mortgage lenders.

In 2002, while a federal grand jury was looking into her activities, prosecutors charged her with obstruction of justice and tampering with a grand jury witness - a 76-year-old man she intimated she would marry if he would recant incriminating testimony, a federal affidavit said.

Those charges were dropped in return for her guilty plea to mail fraud, said Frank Schissler, spokesman for the U. S. postal inspection service. "She's quite a character."

In addition to the prison time, Chief U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg ordered Kolodner pay $119,000 in restitution.

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