On September 28th, a Quincy, Massachusetts broker was sentenced in federal court to 30 months in prison for defrauding buyers of $1.8 million. 

Michael P Flavin admitted to collecting buyer deposits on homes that had already been sold or weren’t for sale. He pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud and two of aggravated identity, receiving a sentence of 2.5 years in prison plus three years of supervised leave. 

According to federal court documents, Flavin executed purchase and sale agreements without obtaining consent from the homeowners—going so far as to forge signatures to make the deals look legit. 

Flavin cashed over 60 deposit checks over three years. While his lawyer declared all parties had been “made whole,” the court will determine restitution at a future hearing.  

Three years of fraud. 30 months of prison

According to the Department of Justice, Flavin’s started the scheme in 2017 and continued through April 2020. In December 2021, he pled guilty and, according to his lawyer, “accepted full responsibility for his actions.” 

While prosecutors had previously said Flavin could serve up to 20 years in prison, as well as a $250,000 fine for each charge of wire fraud, his guilty plea likely helped lighten the sentence. 

Who is Michael P Flavin?

According to his Realtor.com page, Michael Flavin served on many committees, including the Quincy Business Association, and was an Advisory Board Member for the Salvation Army. 

Michael-Flavin-profile-no-logo

He’s also a “proud third generation owner” of a family-owned business, Flavin & Flavin Realty, Inc. The Flavin & Flavin website lists three agents with the last name of Flavin but no longer features any reference to Michael. 

Takeaways for real estate agents

To our knowledge, Flavin hasn’t volunteered any information about why he started scamming buyers, how much his business partners knew (or suspected), or how he was ultimately caught. 

Real estate agents are supposed to be trustworthy guides for consumers intent on buying or selling a home. When one defrauds a client, it hurts. And it reflects poorly on the entire industry. 

Continue to educate consumers in your market, so they know what to expect when buying or selling a home. The more information they have about the transaction process, the better they’ll be able to spot red flags. 

Trust should never be used as a weapon. When your clients show they trust you, look for ways to reward that trust. And keep earning it.