She collected rent from tenants but never delivered it to landlords. Now she could face prison time

The proprietor of two Tennessee real estate management companies has been accused of collecting rent from tenants and failing to deliver the money to landlords, a charge that could result in the revocation of her license and potentially prison time.

Marlene McGhee, the proprietor of Eagle Lane Realty and Eagle Lane Properties Management, has been accused of siphoning more than $ 30,000 from tenants and failing to deliver the rent to landlords who use her services, according to The Tennessee Real Estate Commission.

The commission has suspended the licenses associated with McGhee’s companies due to an insurance lapse unrelated to charges waged by her landlord clients, but it is now considering pursuing further disciplinary action following multiple customer complaints, the agency told local media outlets this week.

“We trusted her to manage our properties,” said Sandra Meabon, the owner of a rental property in Memphis managed by McGhee, and one of at least four property owners currently lobbing complaints against the two companies. “We paid her. She was paid and she didn’t do that,” Meabon, who was only recently able to go inside her property, told WREG in Tennessee.

Meabon, who used Eagle Lane Realty to manage her Memphis property, said that McGhee collected over $ 30,000 in rent from her property over the course of a year but did not deliver rent from tenants for July and August of 2018.

It is unclear how many property owners McGhee may have duped, how much money she failed to deliver or how many buildings are involved in the investigation. McGhee did not immediately respond to Inman’s request for comment. Three other property owners haven’t been identified.

According to Tennessee law, theft of between $ 1,000 and $ 10,000 can be charged as a Class D felony, punishable by between two and 12 years in prison and a fine of up to $ 5,000. It was unclear on Friday if any local law enforcement agencies have begun an investigation.

The Tennessee Real Estate Commission, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, is now in the process of investigating what happened. The Better Business Bureau also revoked Eagle’s accreditation and lowered the companies’ ratings to a D+.

“She basically stated that she wasn’t going to pay me anything until she heard the decision from the real estate commission,” Meabon said.

Local media, meanwhile, also uncovered that McGhee had filed for bankruptcy six times sine 2008. Along with the commission’s investigation, she is also being sued by several contractors and faces eviction from the home she currently rents.

Email Veronika Bondarenko