A former Augusta-area businesswoman whose real estate dealings have been questioned was arraigned on criminal charges again Thursday in federal court.
An indictment returned by a federal grand jury in February expanded the list of Regina M. Preetorius’ alleged victims to include people evicted from homes they believed they were buying from her through lease-purchase agreements.
Preetorius pleaded not guilty Thursday to 10 counts of mail and wire fraud and three counts of money laundering.
A hearing in U.S. District Court is set for April 1, and a tentative trial date is set for two weeks later.
According to the indictment, from 2004 to 2009, Preetorius created several companies, including SDA & Associates.
She advertised the company as a foreclosure rescue operation, saying she could save homeowners from
foreclosure, make a minimum 12 percent profit for investors and provide a way for renters to become homeowners.
By the time Preetorius and her husband declared bankruptcy in 2009, financial institutions had foreclosed on more than 40 properties, about a dozen people
had declared bankruptcy and others had lost their life savings.
According to the indictment, Preetorius is accused of cheating investors out of $1.7 million.
She is also accused of defrauding distressed homeowners and renters by converting property and payments for her own use.
Preetorius is free on bond. According to court records, she lives in Goodyear, Ariz.