Chael Sonnen Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering

Written by Tom Ngo
January 3rd, 2011

UFC Middleweight Chael Sonnen

Chael Sonnen has made quite the name for himself inside of a cage. After pleading guilty to one count of money laundering in connection to a 2006 mortgage fraud case involving Vancouver-based Lighthouse Financial Group, the UFC’s controversial middleweight is now facing a maximum of 20 years behind bars.

According to the news release, Sonnen acted as the real estate agent in a transaction involving a home in Portland, Oregon. The political hopeful submitted a false letter and sales agreement instructing the title company to disburse $69,000 to a contractor for plumbing repairs.

However, $65,000 of those dollars were actually kicked back to the buyer.

Federal prosecutors allege that two Lighthouse employees, Joel Rosabal and Chadwick Amsden, submitted the false loan application to a now-defunct subprime lender.

“This office will continue to aggressively prosecute real estate professionals who committed the mortgage fraud that contributed to this country’s economic downturn and wreaked havoc on our community’s housing market,” US Attorney Dwight Holton said in a statement. “We entrusted these professionals to honestly broker real estate transactions and instead, they defrauded lending institutions throughout the country and left financial ruin in their wake.”

At least five people who worked with/for Lighthouse have been indicted on mortgage fraud charges.

Sonnen obviously entered a plea agreement. According to the OregonLive.com, the 33-year old will forfeit his Realtor’s license and pay a $10,000 fine. The government is reportedly recommending Sonnen be sentenced to two years of probation.

He will be sentenced on March 28th. It’s also highly likely Sonnen will be required to testify.

Regardless, it’s clearly a much better scenario than a $500,000 levy and 20 years in the pen.

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