GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — A Bristol real estate agent was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Greeneville to ten years in prison after pleading guilty to charges related to a Ponzi scheme.
Tammy Lynn Hawk, 47, pleaded guilty in January to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, money laundering, and filing a false tax return.
Federal prosecutors say Hawk operated a scheme in which she told clients of large profits to be made with quick-flip properties, took cash from them, and used the money from newer clients to pay off previous clients and to fund her own lifestyle. She defrauded at least 24 victims, 12 of which were still owed more than $500,000 by the time the scheme was discovered, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Investigators say Hawk took several steps to conceal the scheme, including false statements, sham real estate contracts, use of electronic signing services, and forgery.
“Tammy Hawk’s fraudulent scheme not only betrayed her clients’ trust, but also caused them devasting financial harm,” Acting U.S. Attorney Francis Hamilton said in a release. “The Court’s sentence demonstrates that there will be serious consequences to criminals who perpetrate this brand of Ponzi scheme. This office values the collaboration among the numerous law enforcement agencies that supported this prosecution.”
In addition to a decade in prison, Hawk was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay more than $600,000 in restitution and more than $70,000 in unpaid taxes.