Real estate attorney sentenced for corrupt transactions

4:07 PM, Mar 21, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- A Duluth real estate closing attorney was sentenced on Thursday for corrupt transactions.

According to Bob Page, official for the office of United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, 46-year-old Neal Landers will serve two years, three months in prison for using funds taken from real estate transactions he oversaw for his personal use.

"Landers violated the law and the trust of his clients when he used his firm's escrow account as his own personal piggy bank," Yates said.

Beginning in 2007, Landers began exploiting his position by misappropriating the funds from real estate closings.  He received money transfers into his escrow account from several real estate closings, but did not distribute them as required.

Instead, he delayed paying out the funds for weeks, in some cases, months.  Landers would pay out the parties from previously completed transactions.

In other cases, Landers transferred money, in amounts far more that any closing fees or costs, from his escrow account to his business checking account. He then used that money towards personal expenses.

Following his sentence, Landers was ordered to three years of supervised release, and $850,000 in restitution.

In 2008, Georgia Bar disbarred Landers.

"The FBI worked diligently in building a solid criminal investigation in this matter and hopes that those victimized by Mr. Landers' egregious breach of trust can take some solace in today's sentencing," Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office said.

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