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Former Augusta businesswoman Regina Preetorius indicted on fraud, money laundering charges

Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012 1:13 PM
Last updated Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 10:45 AM
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A former Augusta businesswoman has been indicted on federal charges of mail fraud and money laundering in connection with a “foreclosure rescue” business she ran.

Regina M. Preetorius is charged with mail fraud and money laundering.
Regina M. Preetorius is charged with mail fraud and money laundering.

Regina M. Preetorius is scheduled to make her initial trip to U.S. District Court in Augusta next week. She faces 10 counts of mail fraud and three counts of money laundering. The indictment accuses Preetorius of cheating investors out of more than $1.7 million and defrauding homeowners trying to stave off foreclosures.

The Augusta Chronicle first wrote about Preetorius and her company, SDA & Associates, in August 2008.

Her foreclosure rescue business left a wake that included more than 40 foreclosure filings and about a dozen bankruptcies, including her own.

According to the federal indictment, Preetorius solicited people to invest in SDA, saying the money would be used to buy houses from distressed homeowners, then the houses would be sold at a profit that would guarantee investors a minimum return of 12 percent.

According to the indictment, Preetorius “misapplied the investors’ money and
converted those funds to her own use” and “defrauded a number of distressed homeowners by using their homes without their authorization as collateral for investors’ loans.”

The indictment says Preetorius and others ran the scheme from 2004 to 2009.

People in danger of losing their homes were sought out and convinced that SDA could save them from foreclosure because its staff would work out a payment plan with the mortgage holders and sell the homes for them if they signed a “special power of attorney,” the indictment said. Preetorius then enticed investors to loan SDA money to purchase and renovate those homes, the indictment said.

Investors were lured into a false sense of security because they were promised their money would be protected by legally recorded deeds. According to the indictment, they were also promised that the houses had sufficient equity to cover their investments and that each property’s value was assured by proper real estate appraisals. In reality, according to the indictment, there was neither.

What investors didn’t learn until it was too late was that each home already had a mortgage from a financial institution that stood first in line for any value of the property, leaving their deeds worthless.

Preetorius previously said she did nothing wrong and was trying to help homeowners. At one of her bankruptcy court hearings, she told investors that she got caught short by the real estate market crash.

She and her husband, Charles, who also worked at SDA, filed for bankruptcy in 2008, claiming $2.47 million in liabilities and zero assets. Though there were several legal challenges to the bankruptcy petition by people who believed they were cheated out of money and homes, the couple’s debts were discharged by the court.

According to court documents, the Preetoriuses moved to Arizona in 2009.

Comments (10) Add comment
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itsanotherday1
43258
Points
itsanotherday1 10/10/12 - 02:02 pm
10
0
I hope they are found guilty

I hope they are found guilty and do a lot of time. They fleeced (allegedly),trusting people out of their homes; some of those people already in financial dire straights. They wound up in a home next door to me, which subsequently went into foreclosure when the whistle was blown on them. Somebody stripped every salable item from inside and outside the home, including the privacy fencing and stacked stonework, before the bank took possession.

my.voice
4824
Points
my.voice 10/10/12 - 02:18 pm
10
0
Someone's going to get that

Someone's going to get that smile wiped off her face.

BUT, while we prosecute her, we should be prosecuting those who allowed and even promoted this on the Federal level. This woman isn't a scapegoat, but she's close!

Cynical old woman
1102
Points
Cynical old woman 10/10/12 - 02:19 pm
10
1
Knew they weren't from the south

When one year in October I attended a meeting where Regina pitched her "way to make money and help home owners" and she was over anxious to pitch her goods. She had the proverbial "used car salesman approach" AND she was wearing white shoes (after Labor Day...oh my!!!!LOL)

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 10/10/12 - 02:22 pm
12
0
That hair, alone, should have been a giant red flag.

You really have to wonder how anyone can be this ignorant on both sides of the scheme. Regina Preetorius for thinking her lying, cheating, unscrupulous, fraudulent schemes would go unnoticed or those who "invested" in her dishonesty.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 10/10/12 - 02:49 pm
9
0
Check it out Chronicle

Is she "practicing" in Arizona now? Does she hold a real estate license in any state?

Tullie
2930
Points
Tullie 10/10/12 - 03:12 pm
9
1
Oh my is Right :o)

She had the proverbial "used car salesman approach" AND she was wearing white shoes (after Labor Day...oh my!!!!LOL)

LOL..I almost choked on my drink when I read this. Made my day.

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 10/10/12 - 03:34 pm
10
0
Oh, wow, Tullie ..Is it
Unpublished

Oh, wow, Tullie ..Is it cockatil hour already?
Willow is right about the hair, for sure.

Little Lamb
46022
Points
Little Lamb 10/10/12 - 03:54 pm
7
0
Crime?

Well, they filed for bankruptcy in 2008. That could fairly be said to be the date the jig was up. They become indicted in late 2012. We'll be surprised if the courtroom phase of the trial occurs before 2014. Obviously the feds don't think these people are dangerous criminals.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 10/10/12 - 05:48 pm
0
0
Wow!!
Unpublished

Precious, isn't she?

Dixieman
14948
Points
Dixieman 10/10/12 - 05:49 pm
10
1
Beware

1. Of anyone who guarantees you a 12% return.
2. Of anyone who wears white shoes after Labor Day or before Memorial Day.

Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 10/10/12 - 08:38 pm
6
3
A lot of people drank the

A lot of people drank the kool-aide when obama got elected and decided they wouldn't make their house payments. obama didn't come up with a bail out these people were looking for. they will vote for him again anyway.

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 10/10/12 - 09:38 pm
6
1
That's it. It's Obama's
Unpublished

That's it. It's Obama's fault.

Tullie
2930
Points
Tullie 10/11/12 - 12:45 pm
1
0
palmetto said:

Oh, wow, Tullie ..Is it cockatil hour already?
Willow is right about the hair, for sure.

No..no I don't have "cockatils" at any hour. I was drinking a diet Mountain Dew :0)

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 10/11/12 - 01:13 pm
1
0
Mrs. & Mr. Swindler

This woman and her husband are no better than Barney Frank, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and all the thieving mortgage companies. Surely they should do some time in the penal system, because they will not be made to repay all the people they swindled!! I hope the courts will start holding these people up to some real punishment and make examples of them!

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