A well-known real estate agent avoided jail time by pleading guilty to three felony charges in connection with her involvement in a fraudulent sales transaction.
Carol Lynn Michaelson, 50, of Dawsonville was sentenced as a first offender to four years on probation. The sentence also carries more than $3,100 in fines and fees, as well as 50 hours of community service, according to court records.
Michaelson was arrested in October 2012 on charges of making false statements to officers, forging the signature of a property owner on a binding real estate contract and converting funds held in escrow for her personal use.
According to sheriff's investigators, Michaelson had forged the signature of a northwestern Dawson County property owner on a short sale real estate contract. She did so after receiving a $15,000 escrow check from a neighboring property owner who sought to buy the land on Hwy. 52 near Amicalola Falls.
Sheriff's Maj. Ray Goodie said investigators got involved after the "neighbor saw the property owner out on the land and offered to let him pay a monthly rent to stay on the property once the sale went through."
The property had never been placed on the market.
"The property owner at one time had entertained a proposal to sell his property to a neighbor," Goodie said at the time of Michaelson's arrest. "But the offer was too low, so there was no deal."
A spokeswoman with the state real estate commission said the group has authority to sanction licensees for violations of Georgia's license law or commission rules. Sanctions could include fines, suspension and up to revocation.