By Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2020

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - A former Fannie Mae employee was sentenced in Southern California to more than six years in prison for arranging discounted sales of Fannie Mae-owned properties to herself and real estate brokers in exchange for cash kickbacks, federal prosecutors said.

Shirene Hernandez, 47, was also ordered Tuesday to pay $982,516 in restitution to Fannie Mae, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.

Her scheme resulted than $120 million in sales and more than $3 million in corrupt commissions to brokers, according to prosecutors.

A jury last year found Hernandez guilty of two counts of wire fraud. She had pleaded not guilty.

Hernandez worked as a sales representative for Fannie Mae in Irvine, California from 2010 to 2015

The brokers who benefited from sales from Hernandez paid her in cash, which was sometimes stuffed into envelopes and delivered to parking lots, airports and coffee shops, prosecutors said.

Hernandez used intermediaries and alter egos to buy at least one Fannie Mae-owned property in Sonoma, California for herself at a below-market price, the statement said.

Fannie Mae, the Federal National Mortgage Association, is a government-sponsored enterprise and publicly traded company that buys loans from financial institutions.

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