A former Arizona real estate agent has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison after she defrauded a family friend out of thousands of dollars related to a nonexistent real estate investment.
Sarah Nicole Kelley, 41, of Coolidge was sentenced on April 20 by U.S. District Judge John Tuchi to 46 months in prison and ordered to pay $190,774.64 in restitution as well as a special assessment of $3,200.
Kelley was ordered to self-surrender to federal authorities on June 21 to begin her sentence. Upon release, Kelley will be placed on probation for a period of three years, according to the sentencing agreement.
Kelley was found guilty of 24 counts of wire fraud and eight counts of money laundering by a federal jury after a four-day jury trial in October 2021.
Court documents show that, in January 2017, Kelley defrauded a family friend out of $55,000 to be invested in a real estate deal in Pinal County and then another $130,000 to allegedly help save Kelley’s sister’s home from foreclosure, after learning that the victim had received $185,000 through an inheritance.
Instead, Kelley used the victim’s money to repay her own debts for several investment properties that were facing foreclosure. Kelley then strung the victim along for months with a series of lies and excuses about how the money was spent and when the victim would get it back, according to the indictment filed in the case.
Kelley ended up selling the properties later in 2017, but did not repay any of the funds taken from the family friend, court documents show.
At sentencing, the court also found that Kelley previously defrauded another family friend out of $647,000 using similar tactics. In addition, the court determined that Kelley provided false testimony under oath when seeking to overturn the jury’s guilty verdict.
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