This press release was provided by the Middlesex District Attorney's office
A Somerville real estate broker has pleaded guilty to bilking clients out of more than $119,000 by converting their deposit monies to her own personal use, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan informed the public today.
Farkhanda “Kandy” Tarar Shah, 61, of Peabody, pleaded guilty to charges of felony larceny, fiduciary embezzlement, and being a common and notorious thief.
Middlesex Superior Court Judge Kenneth Desmond sentenced Shah to five years of probation and ordered her to pay restitution to nine former clients and to write them a letter of apology.
“This defendant has now admitted to stealing money from people who relied on her as a licensed real estate broker to engage in transactions on their behalf,” District Attorney Ryan said. “She defrauded her clients and betrayed their trust by taking their money and spending it for her own personal gain rather than keeping it safe and secure for the benefit of the parties to the purchase and sale. Her actions turned what should have been a positive experience of buying a home into a devastating financial hardship for these victims.”
According to authorities, Shah was both a licensed mortgage broker and a licensed real estate broker doing business as K-Realty, with an office in Somerville. Through their investigation they learned that, beginning in 2007 and continuing through 2009, the defendant repeatedly paid her own business and personal expenses with her clients’ deposit monies given to her to hold in a separate, secure escrow account, in violation of Massachusetts Real Estate Law.
In many instances, the seller of the property was “under water,” and the transaction involved the sale of a home in which the owner’s outstanding mortgage was greater than the current value of the property. Shah’s clients would seek to purchase the property in a “short sale” that required both the seller and the mortgage holder to approve the final sales price. Such sales are often complicated and frequently are not successfully completed.
When a deal would fall apart, and clients would seek to get their deposit money back, the defendant would be unable to repay the money because she had already spent it on expenses unrelated to the intended sale.
The Massachusetts Division of Licensure revoked the defendant’s real estate broker’s license after clients notified authorities of the defendant’s actions. The Massachusetts Banking Commission also revoked her mortgage broker’s license.
The case was investigated by Trooper Jodi Dotolo of Massachusetts State Police’s CPAC Unit, assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.
The prosecutor assigned to the case is Assistant District Attorney Doug Cannon.