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Jury finds Preetorius guilty in real estate scam

Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013 8:20 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013 8:53 PM
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Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story did not have the correct title for  Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Troy Clark.



Regina Preetorius can no longer hide behind a failed business venture. What she did was criminal, a federal court jury determined Tuesday.

The jury deliberated for more than seven hours before convicting Preetorius of 10 counts of wire and mail fraud and three counts of money laundering. The jury acquitted Preetorius of four counts of mail and wire fraud.

Following the verdict, U.S. District Court Judge J. Randal Hall ordered that Preetorius be held in custody pending sentencing. She faces a sentencing range of around 15 years.

“She fought to keep it covered up as long as she could,” Assistant U.S. Attorney David Stewart said of Preetorius in his closing statement. If Preetorius was devastated by the collapse of her business and the financial ruin in her wake, it was because she got caught, he said.

Preetorius used her company, SDA & Associates, to obtain the properties of financially distressed homeowners – promising to keep the homes from failing into foreclosure and selling them to other people under rent-to-own contacts. She convinced others to invest in her company by promising 12 percent interest on investments with guaranteed safety.

“The defendant lied, she cheated and she stole,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Troy Clark.

Preetorius used the SDA investments, down payments and rents, and properties as her personal piggy bank, Clark argued. And she continued taking money from others when she knew financial institutions would foreclose on the properties because she wasn’t making the mortgage payments as she promised, Clark said.

And though she stopped paying the mortgages, she made the monthly payments on her Mercedes Benz, paid for visits to nail and hair salons, paid for dog grooming and paid thousands to herself while investors, homeowners and renters were unknowingly poised to lose millions of dollars in property and cash.

Defense attorney Charles Portz of Houston argued to the jury that the prosecutors failed to prove intent because Preetorius never intended to defraud anyone. She ran SDA successfully for four years until she was ensnared in the real estate and banking crisis that overtook the whole country, Portz said.

“In her mind she believed she didn’t do anything wrong,” he argued. “This is a failed business venture, nothing more.”

What she did, the prosecutors countered, was run a Ponzi scheme. The lies, tricks and deceit got her what she wanted – other people’s money, Stewart argued.

“She’ll say whatever it takes to keep the money coming in,” Stewart said to the jury. “The truth has to come out ... Don’t let her hold you off any longer.”

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Dixieman
15999
Points
Dixieman 09/24/13 - 08:56 pm
6
0
Seven hours of deliberation...

...means they must have had a dinner that lasted for six hours and fifty-eight minutes. This was a slam-dunk for the prosecution.

JRC2024
9341
Points
JRC2024 09/24/13 - 09:49 pm
5
0
I am like you Dixie. Would

I am like you Dixie. Would not take me long and anyone who believes in a 12 % return must be very gulliable

fishman960
1492
Points
fishman960 09/24/13 - 11:14 pm
6
0
Good!

Why was her mother not brought down with her? Still have those two contracts, one from Regina and one from Marie if anyone is interested. Thank God I backed out both times......

my.voice
4927
Points
my.voice 09/24/13 - 11:19 pm
5
0
Chain gang time!

Chain gang time!

soapy_725
43772
Points
soapy_725 09/25/13 - 06:17 am
0
0
11% is the average for the life of the stock market. READ
Unpublished

11% is the average for the life of the stock market. READ

soapy_725
43772
Points
soapy_725 09/25/13 - 06:18 am
0
0
Another graduate of the Linda Shrienko School of Deceit.
Unpublished

Another graduate of the Linda Shrienko School of Deceit.

soapy_725
43772
Points
soapy_725 09/25/13 - 06:19 am
0
0
Women With A Financial Axe to Grind, LLC
Unpublished

Women With A Financial Axe to Grind, LLC

soapy_725
43772
Points
soapy_725 09/25/13 - 06:21 am
0
0
Sigmund Freud had a word for these womens problem.
Unpublished

Sigmund Freud had a word for these women's problem.

Marinerman1
5093
Points
Marinerman1 09/25/13 - 08:58 am
2
2
Jail Does Not Help the Issue

While she is in jail, she is not being productive. Put her in a half-way house, and force her to peddle mass quantities of real estate to pay the people she ripped off. She's probably not smiling much now...

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 09/25/13 - 09:04 am
0
0
my.voice,
Unpublished

I'm in full agreement with you. Bring back CHAIN GANGS.

jimmymac
42949
Points
jimmymac 09/25/13 - 09:11 am
1
0
SCAM
Unpublished

To the people that invested thinking they were going to get 12% return guaranteed. Wake up! No one gives that kind of return automatically. To the people who bought homes that lost them I feel very sorry for you and hope this terrible woman going to jail for her crimes gives you some relief.

itsanotherday1
45503
Points
itsanotherday1 09/25/13 - 09:32 am
2
0
They were my next door

They were my next door neighbors until the house of cards collapsed. Still wondering if they flim-flammed the original owner of the house. Not saying THEY did it, but after the foreclosure was in progress, everything that wasn't nailed down and some that were, were stripped out of the home. Right down to landscaping materials and the privacy fence.

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