Real Estate Agent Charged With Stealing Deposits from Clients

For Immediate Release May 29, 2012
Contact: Press Office

Alleged to have embezzled over $200,000

WOBURN A Peabody woman was indicted today for allegedly bilking clients out of more than $200,000 by using their deposit money for her personal use through her Somerville real estate office, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone informed the public today.

Farkhanda “Kandy” Tarar Shah, 61, of Peabody has been indicted on charges of felony larceny, fiduciary embezzlement, and for being a common and notorious thief.  She is expected to be arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court this afternoon.

“We allege that this defendant used her position of trust to steal real estate deposits amounting to be thousands of dollars from people looking to purchase a home, after they entrusted their hard earned money and savings to her in good faith as a licensed Real Estate Broker,” DA Leone said. “Especially during these difficult economic times, such financially debilitating crimes can be simply devastating.  We will work to return every penny to those who are defrauded, and punish those who cause them such anxiety and heartache.”

According to authorities, Shah was both a licensed mortgage broker and a licensed real estate agent doing business as K-Realty, with an office in Somerville.  It is alleged that, beginning in 2007 and continuing through 2009, the defendant repeatedly used her clients’ deposit money for the purchases of real estate to pay her own business and personal expenses rather than keeping the money secure in an escrow account, violating Massachusetts Real Estate Law.

Often, the seller of the property was “under water,” that is, 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 the mortgage holder to approve the final sales price.  Such sales do not always go smoothly and frequently are not completed. 

On the transactions related to the criminal charges against the defendant, she had already spent the money which was supposed to be held in an escrow account. Clients would seek to get their deposit money returned after the deal collapsed. The defendant was unable repay her clients the deposit because the money had been spent for other purposes unrelated to the intended sale.

The investigation uncovered twelve victims whose deposits totaling over $200,000 had been embezzled.

The Massachusetts Division of Licensure revoked her real estate broker’s license following complaints.  The Massachusetts Banking Commission also revoked her mortgage broker’s license. 

These charges are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The case was investigated by Trooper Jodi Dotolo of Massachusetts State Police’s CPAC Unit, assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.

The Assistant District Attorney is Doug Cannon.

The Middlesex District Attorney’s PACT Unit, established when District Attorney Leone took office, is dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of cases of public protection (including narcotics and organized crime), anti-terrorism, corruption, and technology. The Unit has investigated and prosecuted multiple cases of alleged public corruption and organized crime, including:

·        Commonwealth vs. Peter Limone, et al, in which more than 140 indictments were brought against 20 men in connection with their involvement in organized crime activities.

·        Commonwealth vs. John Buonomo, in which the defendant, the former Register of Probate, pled guilty to the theft of thousands of dollars of public monies.

·        Commonwealth vs. Richard Stewart and Joseph Falzone, in which the defendants, two Department of Conservation and Recreation employees, pled guilty to the theft of more than 2000 feet of cast-iron coping from the Longfellow Bridge and selling it to a scrap yard for approximately $12,000.

·        Commonwealth vs. David Annis, a Lowell police officer found guilty on extortion and other charges. 

·        Commonwealth vs. Paul Camilli, the former Superintendent of Public Works in the town of Maynard, found guilty of soliciting cash payments from a private developer in exchange for relaxing the permitting and inspection process for a construction project.

·        Commonwealth vs. Michael Harrington, the Westford Animal Control Officer who pled guilty to charges larceny of a firearm (11 counts), larceny over $250 (4 counts), improper storage of a firearm (2 counts) and receiving stolen property connection with the theft of several guns and equipment from the Town of Westford.

·        Commonwealth vs. Michael Dell’Isola, a Sergeant with the Middlesex Sheriff’s Department charged with trafficking cocaine.

·        Commonwealth vs. Adam Wheeler, a Delaware man who pled guilty to charges of larceny over $250 (4 counts), identity fraud (8 counts), falsifying an endorsement or approval (7 counts) and pretending to hold a degree after illegally obtaining over $45,000 in grants, scholarship, and financial aid money.

·        Commonwealth vs. Pasqualino Spadorcia, who was convicted on charges of larceny over $250 (7 counts), forgery (2 counts), uttering false checks (2 counts), and extortion after unlawfully stealing money from numerous victims.

·        Commonwealth vs. Kathaleen Porter, a doctor who is charged with nine counts of illegally prescribing controlled substances.

·        Commonwealth vs. Albert Bellamy Lovering, who is charged with larceny (23 counts) and being a common and notorious thief after allegedly stealing over $200,000 from four different victims he met on social dating websites.

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