COVINGTON, KY. — The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Secret Service jointly announced today that the owner of a real estate transaction company in Bellevue, Ky., admitted in federal court yesterday that she defrauded financial institutions out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Jennifer Groneck, 47, of Fort Thomas, Ky., pleaded guilty to one wire fraud count. Groneck acknowledged that she stole a combined $645,904.27 from various banks and a mortgage lender.
Groneck coordinated real estate transactions on behalf of the buyer, seller, mortgage lender and real estate agents. After a house was sold, her company was responsible for disbursing all the money collected at settlement and to pay off the existing mortgages on the property, thus clearing the property title for new buyers.
However, instead of paying off a seller’s mortgage as she was obligated to do, she stole the money that was wired to her from the buyer’s bank and used it to pay off mortgages on other properties that she had not paid due to her scheme to defraud.
For instance, in April of 2011, she received a money transfer of $228,914.09 from a buyer’s bank during a closing on a home in Boone County. The money was supposed to be sent to the seller’s bank to help pay off the seller’s mortgage on the home. Instead, she was able to conceal from the seller’s bank that she used the money to cover the cost of other mortgages she failed to pay from previous transactions.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Secret Service. The U.S. Attorney’s Office was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura K. Voorhees.
Groneck will appear in U.S. District Court in Covington for sentencing on May 3, 2012. She faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. However, the court must consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of sentences before imposing a sentence.