COOLIDGE — Sarah Nicole Kelley has been indicted on 24 counts of wire fraud and eight counts of money laundering.
Kelley is listed as a real estate agent and owner of Canyon Construction of Coolidge in the indictment though she says she is no longer associated with either.
According to a federal grand jury indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix on Tuesday, Kelley allegedly swindled another woman out of $185,000 and used the money to pay off her own real estate investment instead of starting a new project with the new investor.
The indictment states, “By late 2016, Kelley’s own personal real estate investments also were in jeopardy and Kelley was facing foreclosure on certain properties. In particular, Kelley needed to pay $180,000 by January 17, 2017, or her lender, Capital Fund 1, would foreclose on two of Kelley’s investment properties.”
During the same time, the court maintains that Kelley learned that a woman was receiving an inheritance of $185,000.
Kelley allegedly talked the woman into investing $55,000 into a joint Coolidge real estate venture on Jan. 10, 2017.
“The woman understood the money would be used to buy the vacant lot. But Kelley never purchased the vacant lot. Instead, she applied the funds to her past-due loans with Capital Fund 1,” the indictment reads.
“A few days later, Kelley fabricated another lie to get more of the woman’s inheritance. She told her that Kelley’s sister was in financial trouble and facing foreclosure on her home,” court records state.
She allegedly told the investor that her sister would be homeless along with her children and asked if they could borrow $130,000 to save the house.
“Kelley promised to repay the woman in full within 30 days,” the indictment states.
The investor wired the $130,000 directly to Capital Fund 1 for Kelley on Jan. 17, 2017.
The federal complaint alleges the funds were used to pay off Kelley’s Capital Fund 1 loans completely.
After her properties were paid off, Kelley began marketing her two properties and sold one property on April 28, 2017, and another on Nov. 3, 2017.
“Kelley kept the proceeds from both sales for her own use. Kelley never repaid the $55,000 invested with her or the $130,000 loaned to her,” the complaint reads.
The investor was getting concerned as the process dragged on and Kelley promised on many occasions to repay the money, according to documents in the case.
“On several occasions, Kelley took the woman to a vacant lot on Lucky Lane in Coolidge, Arizona, indicating it was the vacant lot purchased with her investment of $55,000. Kelley promised construction would begin soon and even showed her the purported house plans,” records state.
Kelley allegedly made many excuses for the construction delays, including blaming the Pinal County Building Safety Department for not approving the necessary building permits.
It was later learned that Kelley never applied for building permits, let alone actually purchased the vacant lot in Coolidge.
With the transfer of funds in the case, Kelley was charged with 24 wire fraud counts. The eight money laundering counts were filed in connection with wire transfers and cashier’s checks in excess of $10,000 each.
According to court records, she wired $40,442 to her account at Capital Fund 1 and $105,000 to her personal bank accounts. The money sent to Capital Fund 1 is believed to have come from the investor’s original money while the rest of the funds were from sales of Kelley’s two properties.
In addition, federal investigators allege she sent $119,000 to two title companies and $20,000 to a landscaping company from the property sale funds.
According to BuildZoom.com, Kelley’s company Canyon Construction LLC has worked on a total of nine projects in the past three years, four in 2016 and five in 2018.
The website states that five of the projects were new construction while three were home additions.
“Canyon Construction LLC has a BuildZoom score of 96, which places them above 80% of 71,576 contractors in Arizona,” BuildZoom.com displays on its website.
Canyon Construction is listed as being located at 345 W. Central Ave., Suite 2, in Coolidge and the company’s website as well as a real estate page belonging to Kelley are no longer functioning.
In a telephone call Saturday morning, Kelley denied the charges. She told PinalCentral that she is not, or no longer, a real estate agent in Pinal County and that she hasn't worked in the past year. She said she also resigned from Canyon Construction last month.
She also insisted that she is just an "average stay at home mom."