A Maryland real-estate agent has been charged with stealing more than $1 million from a real estate investor, Maryland prosecutors said Friday.
In a news release, prosecutors said that 37-year-old Joseph Schulz was arrested Friday on two counts of wire fraud and one count of theft.
The two charges carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The indictment alleges that Schulz purchased two homes in Maryland from investors in 2009 and 2010 for $1,039,000 each.
In each case, the two buyers, who were later sold for $500,000 more, used their real-name identities to get a mortgage loan and then pocketed the proceeds, prosecutors allege.
In June, a Maryland judge ordered Schulz to pay back the investors for the two homes he purchased, and he was released from jail Friday.
The real-life owners, whose real-names were not revealed in the court records, sued Schulz, his firm, the real- estate investment trust, and Maryland realty brokerage company for breach of contract.
They also alleged that Schulz lied to them about the real estate investments, including the fraudulent purchase of two properties.
Schulz was a real-time real-money broker who was employed by the Maryland Real Estate Board.
Prosecutors say he was charged with wire fraud in February after they obtained a search warrant to search his office.
Investigators with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore, which is handling the case, said the search was conducted after an investigation by the FBI, Maryland Department of Homeland Security, the Maryland Office of the Attorney General and the Maryland Department in the Northern District of Maryland.
The agents searched Schulz’s office and home and seized cash, jewelry and other items from the home and office.
They said they also seized electronic devices from Schulz and his office and his laptop.
The Maryland Attorney General’s Office said that the investigation into the real property transactions was ongoing.
In February, Schulz told the Maryland Bar Association that he had not committed any crime, but he said he had violated state and federal law when he allegedly stole the money.
The attorney general’s office said the real properties Schulz acquired were not purchased by him, but by a company he owned.
Schulz told the bar association that he was sorry and was sorry for any hurt or harm that may have been caused.