DOJ: Bristol, Tenn. realtor pleads guilty to swindling customers with fake investments

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BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) – A Bristol, Tennessee real estate agent has agreed to be sentenced to 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to multiple charges connected to a Ponzi scheme.

According to a release from the Department of Justice, Tammy Lynn Hawk, 47, pleaded guilty to counts of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, money laundering and filing a false tax return.

The release says Hawk pleaded guilty on Tuesday, January 19 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Greeneville.

“Hawk faces an agreed sentence of 10 years in Federal prison, plus up to $1.25 million in
fines, and supervised release of three years,” according to the DOJ release.

The DOJ reports Hawk admitted to using her status as a realtor “to swindle numerous customers who thought they were making real estate investments.”

The release says Hawk actually used the funds taken from investors to repay other investors or pay for her lifestyle.

Court documents show that she would tell customers about pieces of land she could acquire for customers to buy and “flip” in order to make a profit. Hawk would tell customers that she would act as a middleman between them and a Florida real estate investment company.

According to the release, Hawk would give customers “phony contracts” that led customers to believe they had ownership of the properties.

Hawk also signed a purchase and sale agreement using at least one customer’s name without that person’s knowledge or consent, according to the release.

The release says Hawk admitted in a written plea to causing or intending to cause losses to 24 victims, equaling more than $1 million.

The DOJ reports Hawk also failed to pay income tax on the fraudulently earned money through the tax years of 2015 through 2018.

She filed for bankruptcy in 2019 but did not list her accurate income or all the victims she had taken money from, according to DOJ.

You can read the full release below:

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