James Lee Putnam, 40, and Alissa Rae Smith, 29, both of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, pled guilty in federal court in Florence, South Carolina, to conspiracy to make a false statement, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. United States District Court Judge Robert Bryan Harwell accepted the plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
Testimony presented at the guilty plea hearing established that Putnam conspired with others to accept a payment of $36,500 from the proceeds of a real estate transaction. The payment was not reflected on the settlement statement for the transaction, which was provided to the lender. Testimony revealed that Smith received a payment of over $200,000.00 from the proceeds of a real estate transaction. The payment was reflected on the settlement statement, but was based on a fraudulent invoice.
The maximum penalty Putnam and Smith can receive is a fine of $250,000 and/or imprisonment for five years, plus a special assessment of $100.
United States Attorney Bill Nettles announced the guilty pleas.
The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney John C. Potterfield of the Columbia office handled the case.