UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen got himself in some hot water recently when he failed a post-fight drug test after UFC 117, but now his worries have extended to a federal courtroom for his admitted involvement in a money laundering scheme.
According to a Jan. 3 press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon, Sonnen has pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering.
Sonnen, a licensed realtor in the State of Oregon, admitted that a financial transaction he conducted was designed to conceal or disguise the ownership and control of the proceeds of wire fraud. The scheme involved Joel Rosabal and Chadwick Amsden, employees of Crown Point Enterprises, dba Lighthouse Financial Group (Lighthouse), a mortgage brokerage service based principally in Vancouver, Washington, with operations in Oregon and elsewhere. Rosabal and Amsden submitted a materially false loan application on the buyer’s behalf to Decision One Mortgage, a subprime lending institution that is now defunct, for the purchase of residential property located at 11249 SE Rolling Hills Lane, Portland, Oregon. Sonnen acted as the realtor for the transaction. Sonnen submitted a false letter and Sales Agreement Addendum instructing the title company to pay loan proceeds to a plumbing company for repairs to the home. In fact, Sonnen knew and had negotiated with Rosabal that no repairs would be performed on the home and the funds designated to the plumbing company would instead be paid to the buyer as a cash incentive to purchase the home.
A money laundering conviction can carry maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. Sonnen’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 28.
(UPDATED at 11:48pm eastern)
According to The Oregonian, prosecutors are recommending Sonnen receive two-years probation as part of the plea bargain. The deal also requires Sonnen to pay a $10,000 fine and forfeit his realtor’s license, the Oregonian report says.