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Attorney who worked with Preetorius testifies

Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 8:03 PM
Last updated Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013 2:00 AM
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The attorney who took part in most of Regina Preetorius’ real estate transactions testified Friday as the first defense witness in her federal trial in Augusta.

Preetorius
Preetorius


Preetorius has pleaded not guilty to 14 counts of wire and mail fraud and three counts of money laundering.

Columbia County attorney Susan Reimer spent most of the day providing testimony that supported Pree­torius’ defense: that she was caught in a “perfect storm” of banking and real estate crashes in late 2007.

“We were powerless to do anything about it,” Reimer said of the crisis that led to the demise of Preetorius’ business, SDA & Asso­ciates, and the financial devastation of investors, homeowners and renters.

Reimer said Pree­torius made it very clear to investors that their money would be given in exchange for a lien on a particular property.

Contrary to what numerous investors testified to this week, Reimer said the money was never intended to be used just on that property. Their investment money was like an equity loan – it has no restrictions on its use, she said.

Also contrary to investors’ testimony, Reimer said each investor would be consulted before the collateral securing their investment was moved from one property to another.

On cross-examination, Reimer said she didn’t know how the investment money was spent, or that new investors’ money was used to pay old investors’ interest payments.

Reimer blamed the passage of time for forgetting that she wrote an open letter of support and endorsement for Preetorius and her business, and forgetting that she helped Preetorius draft letters to investors that prosecutors contend were meant to placate unhappy and nervous investors in 2007 and 2008.

The last letter, in April 2008, which she admitted to reviewing after being confronted with e-mails, was really a letter telling investors that Preetorius was broke but wanted to try to find a way to pay everyone back, Reimer testified.

Confronted with another e-mail to Preetorius after an upset investor came to her office demanding his money – an investor who lost $98,000 – Reimer reaffirmed her belief that the April 2008 letter was an attempt to give investors honest information.

“Your letter might slow him down a bit,” Reimer told Preetorius in the e-mail sent after the investor’s visit to her law office.

Reimer said she didn’t know Nadine Frances had rescinded Preetorius’ power of attorney two days before Reimer and her husband signed off as attorneys on a quit claim deed Aug. 22, 2007, that gave SDA ownership of Frances’ property and a security deed to a private investor the same day.

If Preetorius knew the power of attorney had been revoked, then they had no legal authority to perform the transactions, Reimer said.

Reimer said she did many closings for SDA and was paid for each, but that her testimony wasn’t in support of one side or the other at the trial. Reimer said she had been subpoenaed by both sides and as an officer of the court was testifying truthfully about what she knew.

Her reputation, Reimer said, was in God’s hands and not tied to the outcome of Preetorius’ trial.

The trial in U.S. District Court continues Monday at 9 a.m., with Preetorius on the witness stand.

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fishman960
1502
Points
fishman960 09/20/13 - 08:45 pm
5
0
Fraud

I have two bogus contracts from S.D.A. via Regina and her mother Marie dealing with the intent of purchasing two different condo's. These people were highly fraudulent and if it wasn't for a decent real estate agt. that got caught up in this sham tipping me off, I would have been out close to 15,000.00. Who do I need to talk to?

Little Lamb
47857
Points
Little Lamb 09/20/13 - 09:42 pm
4
0
Public vs. Private

Why do people want to invest with these private individuals instead of public corporations? Why do they not put their money into index mutual funds or ETFs with low (and publicly disclosed) annual fees? You can do it on the internet. You do not need a pretty blonde face to lead you astray.

geecheeriverman
3618
Points
geecheeriverman 09/21/13 - 04:24 am
4
2
public vs private

Just ask the tens of thousands that invested in the stock market before the bubble burst about investing. Most of them are broke now too. Might be time to go back to the ole coffee cans in the back yard.

Riverman1
90160
Points
Riverman1 09/21/13 - 04:42 am
6
0
The other day when I asked if

The other day when I asked if the same lawyer was defending her, this is who and what I was getting at. I'm wondering if the feds are considering later indictments against Reimer?

carcraft
27784
Points
carcraft 09/21/13 - 06:29 am
4
3
Riverman, I have known Reimer

Riverman, I have known Reimer for about 15 years. She always was very honest and ethical in her dealings with ne. As a fellow Christian I know of many good works she has done. I pray this some how works out, but it does look bad. I keep thinking "all things work to the good for those that love Christ Jesus "!

Riverman1
90160
Points
Riverman1 09/21/13 - 06:50 am
2
1
Carcraft, I value your

Carcraft, I value your opinion. I'll keep an open mind.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 09/21/13 - 08:44 am
0
0
Sounds like
Unpublished

there's another defendant in this case.

jimmymac
45233
Points
jimmymac 09/22/13 - 10:22 am
0
0
RELIGION
Unpublished

I've seen more than one so-called Christian involved in money scams. Some how they're capable of separating their religion from how they do business. Remember Jim Baker and Tammy Fay? The facts of the trial will speak for themselves and if she committed wrong doings she should lose her license and go to jail. Christian or not!

Marinerman1
5255
Points
Marinerman1 09/23/13 - 07:35 am
1
0
Regina Should Be Found Guilty

The MOMENT that she spent a dime of investor money to pay her own $4000 a month (!!!!) house payment, she committed fraud. Guilty. This is based upon what was earlier reported. Perfect storm or not. I feel bad for all of the people that lost it all. She doesn't need to go to jail. She needs to sell a boatload of real estate and pay all of her "investors" back.

jdsgirl63
3147
Points
jdsgirl63 09/23/13 - 10:20 am
0
0
Carcraft

I have known the Reimers for several years as well. Sue is a lovely person who truly wants to help others. This article is poorly written and excludes much of the testimony. People are judgmental and will come to conclusions about her based on a few lines in the AC, not by the true content of her character.

Here is something to ponder: my granddaughter was kidnapped by her non- custodial parent and taken to a state up north. We needed an attorney to help us as GA police couldn't and MD police wouldn't. We called several family law attorneys for help - they were all happy to, if we gave them a $7-10,000 retainer, if not, no can do. We just did not have those funds, I took a chance, called Sue and she was on it without a second thought and on our word to pay her. We had our baby back within a week and over the next several months Sue worked tirelessly to work out a workable agreement in Superior court. I will always be grateful and will support her as I do know the kind, loving content of her character.

jdsgirl63
3147
Points
jdsgirl63 09/23/13 - 10:45 am
1
0
Marinerman1

I do agree with you. If investor money is used for anything other than investment (and not her personal investments, thank you) it is complete fraud. She willingly did what she did. These are decisions and choices made by her - no perfect storm is an excuse for that. I think Sue's kind heart wants to believe no criminal intent was there. Hard to defend that.

I just want people to be aware that Regina is on trial, not Sue Reimer.

rkim777
2
Points
rkim777 10/10/13 - 03:14 am
0
0
Investor Responsibility vs. Attorney Responsibility

I've used Reimer Law Firm for real estate transactions as well as for other business and personal legal issues. They've been efficient, professional, and highly competent in anything they've ever done for me. I will continue to use their services for my legal needs in Georgia confidently and without hesitation. As attorneys, their only responsibility is to ensure that transactions are done in accordance with the law, not to monitor what happens after these transactions have been conducted unless specifically instructed to do so as part of their paid scopes of work.

I'd heard through the grapevine that Preetorius was putting her investors in junior lien positions as high as 110% combined loan-to-value, i.e., in lien positions that really meant that her investors' moneys were in no way secured by anything other than in name only for all practical purposes. This means that she was essentially selling worthless security deeds to her investors. It was the investor's (Regina's) job to make sure that the numbers in her deals were good for her investors and other parties (sellers, renters, etc.) in the transactions, not the job of the closing attorneys, i.e., the Reimers.

It pains me to see the Reimers being dragged into this mess because they happened to do work for an irresponsible criminal like Regina. Regina could have gone to any other attorney and gotten them in the same mess with her bad decisions and criminal behavior. That Regina used investor money to pay for her own bills and luxuries instead for all those mortgages shouldn't reflect badly on the Reimers. Regina is over the age of 18 years and no longer needs any parents, guardians, or attorneys to be responsible for her.

--
Robert Kim (Aiken, SC)

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