A La Habra woman pleaded guilty Friday and was immediately sentenced to a year in jail for stealing about $570,000 from prospective home buyers.
Laura Christina Preciado, 50, pleaded guilty to seven counts of grand theft, with sentencing enhancement allegations of aggravated white collar crime in excess of $100,000, according to court records that list her occupation as a real estate agent.
Preciado was given credit for 22 days in custody.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Richard King placed her on 10 years of formal probation and ordered her to pay $570,640 in restitution plus 10% interest, according to court records.
Preciado listed real estate properties that were going through foreclosure without the consent of owners, often for amounts well below market value, Orange County District Attorney’s investigators said in a court filing that sought to increase her bail.
She pocketed the earnest money that prospective buyers posted and instructed them to not contact the residents.
The crimes occurred between September 2017 through April 2019.
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