A local real estate agent turned herself in to Dawson County authorities on Oct. 10.
Carol Michaelson, 49, is facing multiple felony charges in connection with a fake sales transaction. She has been charged with forging a property owners signature on a real estate contract, converting funds held in escrow for a real estate contract for person use, and making false statements to officers, according to arrest warrants.
It is unfortunate that the first reaction is to arrest someone without delving into the details of dual agency representation, said Rafe Banks, an attorney representing Michaelson. Once all the facts come to light, I have no doubt this will be easily resolved.
I advised her to turn herself in, Banks added. She had no choice.
Banks also said Michaelson is hugely successful and a very talented business woman.
Michaelson is an agent with Keller Williams Realty, according to her website, and is an expert in the North Georgia area. Her service areas include Buford, Flowery Branch, Dawsonville and Gainesville.
In May, Dawson County investigators received a call from a property owner on Hwy. 52 near Amicalola Falls.
The property owner at one time had entertained a proposal to sell his property to a neighbor, said Dawson County Sheriffs Lt. Ray Goodie. But, the offer was too low, so there was no deal.
Michaelson represented the property owner whose name is not being released. It was this property owners signature that Michaelson allegedly forged.
Sometime later, the neighbor saw the property owner on the land and offered to let him stay and charge him monthly rent once the sale went through, according to Goodie. The neighbor told the owner he had signed a contract and paid $15,000 toward the sale.
So, they called the sheriffs office, Goodie said. We have e-mail confirmation that she (Michaelson) talked about selling this property to the buyer for about a year.
The established escrow account is meant only for one reason. The money goes in and its supposed to stay there until the account closes or the contract falls
through, at which time it would be given back to the buyer who provided the escrow money, Goodie said.
There is documentation that proves as soon as the money goes in, she uses it for personal use, such as going tanning and getting her nails done.
Michaelson was released after posting a $15,000 bond. No hearing date had been scheduled at press time.