Eleventh Circuit Affirms Wire Fraud Convictions In Tampa-Area Sinkhole Case
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida
Tampa, FL – Acting United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow announces that the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has affirmed the convictions of Spring Hill residents Glenn and Kathryn Jasen.
According to court documents, in 2009, the Jasens discovered a sinkhole beneath their home and filed a claim with their insurance carrier, Citizens Property. In compensation for their loss, Citizens paid them $153,745.37. Rather than using the money to repair the sinkhole, the Jansens kept it. The couple then made cosmetic repairs to the house and listed it for sale, keeping the sinkhole a secret from prospective buyers. A family with five children bought the house and, in March 2015, the family heard a crash in the earth beneath it. They discovered a crack running across the floor of their living room and immediately evacuated. In October 2015, a federal jury found Glenn and Kathryn Jasen guilty of one count of wire fraud. The couple then appealed their convictions.
In affirming their convictions, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals summarized the case against them, saying: “It is undisputed the Jasens knew their property had a sinkhole on it when they sold the property—they had already collected over one hundred fifty thousand dollars in insurance proceeds because of it.” “Nevertheless,” the Court continued, “they indicated on their disclosure statement that they knew of no sinkhole on the property. They reiterated this misrepresentation in multiple transaction documents and the purchaser relied on these statements in acquiring the property, testifying he would not have done so had he known of the sinkhole.” The Court of Appeals concluded that the evidence “demonstrates that the Jasens intentionally made material misrepresentations concerning their property that were calculated to deceive the buyer into purchasing the property.”
Assistant United States Attorney David C. Waterman handled the appeal. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center investigated the case, and Assistant United States Attorney Thomas N. Palermo prosecuted it.
Updated May 22, 2017