A Florida couple has been found guilty of filing a sinkhole claim, using the money to make cosmetic repairs and then selling the house without disclosing the hole to the buyers.
Glenn and Kathryn Jasen of Spring Hill were found guilty of wire fraud, and each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, according to a release from U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III. The sentencings are scheduled for Jan. 11. They were indicted on July 15.
According to testimony, the Jasens discovered a sinkhole beneath their home inHernando County in 2009 and filed a claim to Citizens Property Insurance. Citizens offered the Jasens either a check to compensate for their losses or mitigation of the sinkhole.
Rather than having Citizens repair the sinkhole, the Jasens chose a check for $153,745.37, but did not repair the sinkhole. Instead, they made cosmetic repairs to the house and listed it for sale in 2013, and kept the sinkhole a secret from prospective buyers.
On a Florida real estate disclosure form, the Jasens denied any knowledge of a prior sinkhole or sinkhole claim.
The home was ultimately sold to a family with five children. In March 2015, the family heard what they thought was a car crash beneath their house. They soon discovered a crack running across the floor and had to evacuate.
Source: USA Today