HAMMOND | A second woman accused of partaking in a complex real estate fraud ring has pleaded guilty.
Sheila Chandler pleaded guilty Thursday to 11 counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud for her role in a scheme profiting her and co-defendants by more than $300,000, Hammond federal court records show.
Chandler was indicted in October 2010 along with real estate consultant Jerry Haymon, Gary community development director Jacquelyn Drago-Hunter and Phillip Rucker.
They are accused of funneling $301,247 to themselves between October 2007 and November 2008 by falsifying Gary property prices, loan forms and other legal real estate documents.
Chandler, who worked as a loan processor for a mortgage broker, is accused of preparing false loan applications for buyers, keeping money intended for a mortgage company and helping forge or forging rent forms.
Chandler's lawyer Darnail Lyles said Thursday that Chandler was entering a plea because there is "no need to prolong the inevitable. She's taking responsibility."
As part of her plea, Chandler agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors, who in turn agreed to drop forfeiture charges against her.
Chandler faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
Gary resident Tracy Butler also pleaded guilty this month to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for partaking in the scam.