Florida Couple Accused of Allegedly Lying about Sinkhole to Homebuyer

A family in Spring Hill, Florida, claims a sinkhole forced them out of the home.

ByABC News
July 17, 2015, 5:47 PM
Glenn Jasen and his wife Kathryn are under investigation for allegedly lying to home buyers about a sinkhole.
Glenn Jasen and his wife Kathryn are under investigation for allegedly lying to home buyers about a sinkhole.

— -- A couple in Florida is accused of lying about a sinkhole on their property to a homebuyer after cashing an insurance check without fixing it.

Glenn Jasen, 64, and his wife Kathryn, 63, of Spring Hill, Tennessee, were arrested by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and appeared in federal district court in Tampa yesterday for their bond hearing. The couple, who own an air conditioning installation business, are accused of wire fraud, which is a federal felony, according to an indictment filed this week. They face a maximum of 20 years in prison each if convicted, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III.

After the Jasens detected a sinkhole on their property, they made a claim to their insurer, the indictment states. But instead of repairing the sinkhole, they deposited the unspecified insurance check into a bank account, the U.S. attorney's office said. The couple allegedly failed to disclose the sinkhole in real estate documents and later sold the home to another family, according to the indictment.

Victor Martinez, a lawyer for the Jasens, told ABC News that omissions or errors in home sale disclosures are typically prosecuted civilly through lawsuits.

"This case is brought by federal indictment through wire fraud because money was transferred in the sale," Martinez told ABC News. "To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time this kind of case has been brought federally. We’ll file motions suggesting this maybe isn’t the best way to deal with that."

The indictment says the Jasens received $64,900 for the sale of the home, which authorities say was a wire fraud scheme that took place between February 2014 and March 2014. The Jasens allegedly sold the home "while falsely and fraudulently representing to the family buying the home that there was no sinkhole and no prior existing sinkhole claim," the indictment said.

The couple was released yesterday after pledging their property to secure a bail bond, according to documents filed with the court. They did not enter a plea at the hearing.

“The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is committed to investigating financial crimes that personally impact the citizens of the State of Florida. We will continue to work with the prosecutorial team to bring these criminals to justice,” said special agent Rick Ramirez of Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center in a statement.

Kelly Magbee, who lived in the home after the Jasens sold it, told WFLA last month her family was forced to move out after it cracked down the middle of their living room.

"We couldn't stay in the house," Magbee told the station. "We couldn't even keep the animals in the house."

Magbee could not be reached for comment by ABC News.