Abingdon, Virginia (WRIC) — A Wise County husband and wife real estate team headed to federal prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud in a scheme that earned more than $300,000 in sales commissions that never existed .
Koltown Properties owners Jessee Deloach and Natasha Deloach will spend 15 months in prison and will pay $146,273 in damages to a company that committed fraud.
In an indictment filed against Deloaches in November 2021, prosecutors described how the scheme was carried out on their Bristol, Virginia estate.
The home, located on a golf course just a few miles north of the Tennessee-Virginia border, was signed in February 2019. The seller, identified only as RH and WH in the indictment, signed an electronic contract valuing the house at $610,000. .
The real estate agent who completed the sale – Jesse DeLoach – forwarded the contract to a Texas-based commission advance firm. A commission advance company essentially deposits a commission to a real estate agent in exchange for a fee and the right to collect the actual commission when it is paid.
For a fee of $1,560, Jessee Deloach will receive an upfront commission of $13,000. However, the company wanted to verify that the sale had in fact taken place under the terms deLoach outlined, so it called Excel Title her company, which was responsible for completing the sale, at the number provided by DeLoach. I was.
Excel representative Melissa Bevins confirmed the sale, and the company wired $13,000 to Deloach.
the only problem? There was never a sale.
According to the indictment, RH and WH never even agreed to sell the house, and even if they did, there was no buyer. DeLoach forged signatures on contracts and stole identities to make it look like a sale.
Verification, which was supposed to confirm the fact of sale, was really only part of the scheme. “Melissa Bevins” never existed. Excel’s title, Company, existed only on paper.
Both were hoaxes by Natasha DeLoach, who responded to a call from a commission advance firm confirming her husband’s fraudulent contract.
Over the course of four years, the DeLoachs earned approximately $300,000 through the same basic scheme, using various bogus title companies and in some cases altering valid home sales contracts.
Natasha and Jesse DeLoach were initially charged with one count of wire fraud, two counts of identity theft, and one count of conspiracy. I was.
As part of the plea deal, the DeLoachs were also required to sell the house they owned at 6700 Paul Bridge Road in Wise County. The proceeds from the sale were used to pay back his 8 companies they had swindled.
However, companies may find it difficult to collect the remaining funds.
In an interview with an FBI agent, Jesse DeLoach said the plan began in 2016 after the couple ran into money problems, and that the couple went bankrupt twice before being arrested in 2021, according to court records. did.