A Spring Hill man who knowingly sold a house on top of a sinkhole to an unsuspecting family has agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud.
The U.S. Government calls what home seller Glenn Jasen did a “scheme to defraud.” He found a sinkhole at his home, at 6281 Kimball Ct., and filed a claim with Citizens Property Insurance Company. Citizens paid Jasen a settlement of more than $153,000, but instead of fixing the home, he moved to a house down the street and spent tens of thousands of dollars fixing up that home.
Jasen, according to the government, sold the house to a family and did not disclose the sinkhole. He even answered ‘no’ on numerous real estate disclosure forms, asserting the house had no structural problems, including known sinkholes.
The buyers, Kelly Magbee and her husband Thomas Jaje, were devastated to learn of the sinkhole when their insurance company, also Citizens, dropped them as customers last year. 8 On Your Side found Citizens failed to catch that it had already paid out a sinkhole claim. The company also failed to notify the Hernando County Property Appraiser’s Office so future buyers like Magbee would be notified before they purchasing such a home.
After our 8 On Your Side investigation, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement launched an investigation and partnered with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. It is the first federal case of its kind.
Jasen could be sentenced to probation or to as much as 20 years in prison. Either way, if the plea agreement is accepted by a federal judge, he would have to pay more than $64,000 to the victims. That would include the purchase price of the home, plus other costs the family has endured.
Meanwhile, the Magbee family was forced to move out of the home, after it cracked down the middle of their living room. “We couldn’t stay in the house,” Kelly Magbee said. “We couldn’t even keep the animals in the house.”
Magbee is thrilled with the guilty plea because it is the first step toward getting back money she and her husband lost so they can move on. They are currently renting another home and continuing to pay rent on the sinkhole home. They hope to eventually sell the home to a company that buys and repairs sinkhole homes.
Magbee is thankful for the news coverage, which caught the eye of law enforcement. “If it wasn’t for you guys stepping in we’d still be fighting trying to get someone to even look at what’s going on,” she said.