– Allison Goldsberry
A Somerville real estate broker has admitted to stealing over $100,000 in client money, according to information released by Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan.
District Attorney Ryan said Farkhanda “Kandy” Tarar Shah, 61, of Peabody, “bilked” clients out of more than $119,000 by converting their deposits to her own personal use.
Shah pleaded guilty to charges of felony larceny, fiduciary embezzlement, and being a common and notorious thief.
Middlesex Superior Court Judge Kenneth Desmond sentenced Shah to five years of probation and ordered her to pay restitution to nine former clients and to write them a letter of apology.
“This defendant has now admitted to stealing money from people who relied on her as a licensed real estate broker to engage in transactions on their behalf,” District Attorney Ryan said. “She defrauded her clients and betrayed their trust by taking their money and spending it for her own personal gain rather than keeping it safe and secure for the benefit of the parties to the purchase and sale. Her actions turned what should have been a positive experience of buying a home into a devastating financial hardship for these victims.”
Shah, formerly a licensed mortgage broker and real estate broker, had both licenses revoked by the Massachusetts Division of Licensure and the Massachusetts Banking Commission.
Authorities say Shah repeatedly paid her own business and personal expenses with her clients’ deposit money that had been given to her to keep in a separate escrow account. Shah was often involved in “short sales” and with sellers who were “under water” on their properties. When a deal would fall apart, the clients were not able to get back their deposits. Some clients notified the authorities, which ultimately led to Shah’s license revocation and criminal charges.