No prison time for sinkhole couple

HERNANDO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – Glenn and Kathryn Jasen, now known around the world as the sinkhole couple, will not serve prison time after all.

A federal judge sentenced the couple to five years of probation and six months house arrest. The Spring Hill couple was convicted in October of federal wire fraud after they sold their home without disclosing a sinkhole claim to new homebuyers.

An 8 On Your Side investigation exposed that they had collected $153,000 in a sinkhole settlement.

Federal Judge James Whittemore called the decision, “a close call.” He said this decision was his toughest in 16 years on the bench. He took into consideration the Jasens’ ages, they are both in their 60s. The judge also read through letters from the community and friends and family, describing the Jasons as “good people.”

“To put it simply, is it really necessary to take two individuals and put them in prison for what amounts to an isolated instance of wrongdoing, and I think not,” he said.

The judge sentenced the Jasens  to 1,000 hours of community service and $15,000 each and fines.

There will be a separate hearing within a month to decide restitution to the victims. The judge said he wants the couple to buy back the sinkhole home and pay restitution to the new homebuyers.

The new homebuyers, Thomas Jaja and Kelly Magbee, said they were slightly disappointed in the sentence but hopefully they will get out of the house payment soon.

“I hope this sends a clear message to other home owners, that this will not be tolerated,” Magbee said.

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