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Real estate agent gets probation for tax evasion, avoids fraud prosecution
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A Manteca woman was sentenced Thursday in San Joaquin County Superior Court for filing a false tax return. 

Court documents showed Helen Sotiriadis, 51, pled no contest back in April with the provision the court would drop other fraud charges against her.

She was ordered this week to pay $6,049 for the district attorney’s investigators’ time spent on the case.  Sotiriadis was also placed on five years probation and given 120 days in jail beginning Oct. 20.  She has the possible option of serving her time through a county alternative work program (AWP), according to a court spokesman.

Dismissed in the case were charges of fraud with an attempt to evade and a second count of tax evasion with an enhancement of taking, damaging or destroying property over $65,000.

The woman’s first arrest came in the fall of 2009 when she and her adult daughter, Irene, then 23, were arrested by the FBI and charged with selling 30 properties to Cambodian nationals between 2006 and 2007.  The complaint alleged that the buyers’ incomes had been inflated on loan papers allegedly defrauding lenders in the amount of $8 million from the home sales.

After being released on $750,000 bail due to fears she was a flight risk to Greece, the charges were finally dismissed.  However, the daughter Irene had reportedly fled to her home in that foreign country.

In November of last year Sotiriadis and her husband John were jailed for alleged tax evasion.  This time the bail was set at $500,000. 

San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Stephen Taylor revealed that it was the low income numbers on the couple’s tax returns – just over $17,000 in the last year – that drew suspicion and attention to the duo’s tax returns.

FBI Special Agent T. Davis said that in the course of the three years of real estate transactions, Helen and Irene Sotiriadis had recruited more than 20 Cambodian families into purchasing large new homes.  Many of them spoke little or no English.

Davis noted that many of the house payments exceeded $4,000 a month.  Lending institutions making the loans on the fraudulent mortgages lost in excess of $8 million, he said.