Youngstown man sentenced for million dollar real estate scam - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Youngstown man sentenced for million dollar real estate scam

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Ondrea Shabazz Ondrea Shabazz
AKRON, Ohio -

The former operator of a Youngstown real estate investment firm has been sentenced to prison for cheating property owners out of more than $1-million.

A judge sitting in U.S. District Court sentenced 48-year-old Ondrea Shabazz to four years in prison, followed by three years of probation.

Shabazz pleaded guilty in May to one count each of real estate fraud, identification and mail fraud.

Fifty seven other counts handed up in the original indictment were dismissed as part of a plea deal.

Shabazz operated the Real Estate Investment Connection LLC which, according to the government, fraudulently obtained and resold distressed properties in the Youngstown area.

Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Cleveland Field Office, says Shabazz forged signatures to fraudulently obtain ownership of distressed, soon-to-be-demolished homes and sold them to his clients for a profit

The government said that Shabazz used false pretenses and promises to defraud real estate owners and others out of money and property.

The indictment alleged that the company would create fraudulent deeds using forged signatures of owners or Notary Publics to obtain property that were foreclosed or targeted for demolition.

The government claims that Shabazz and others would then resell the property under false pretense that Real Estate Investment Connection legally owned the property.

In other instances, Shabazz allegedly acted as an intermediary to broker real estate transactions between property owners and an unsuspecting third party.

The indictment claims that Shabazz defrauded property owners and others out of money and property valued at more than $1 million.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Toepfer did not reveal names of the alleged victims, but the indictment includes redacted information for 29 deeds, owners of 27 properties, and three Notary Publics who were victims of the scheme.

The judge is expected to issue a ruling on restitution in the case sometime in the next 90 days.

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