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Twin Cities house-flipper to pay $1.6M, serve 58 months in prison for fraud scheme

Suzanne Griffiths, 46, was sentenced Friday to 58 months in federal prison and ordered to pay an additional $1,661,407.50 in restitution in connection with the scheme.

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MINNEAPOLIS — A Twin Cities woman will serve roughly five years in federal prison and pay nearly $1.7 million in restitution after she conducted a two-year-long house-flipping scheme that defrauded multiple investors.

Suzanne Griffiths, 46, was sentenced Friday, Dec. 9, to 58 months in federal prison and ordered to pay an additional $1,661,407.50 in restitution in connection with the scheme.

Federal prosecutors found that between 2018 and 2020, as part of her house-flipping business in Minnesota, Griffiths frequently attended seminars of a coaching program where she connected with multiple investors. She used those connections to repeatedly pitch investment opportunities to seminar attendees regarding properties owned by her company.

Griffiths promised investors various manners of repayment in return for investments, federal prosecutors say, frequently making misrepresentations about the status of some flipping projects and made false promises to take action on other projects. She also falsified documents and misappropriated funds for her own use.

Specifically, in November 2018, Griffiths solicited a $100,000 investment to finance the renovation of a property. After promising the investor that they’d hold the second position on the mortgage, she falsely assured the investor that the mortgage documents had been properly filed with the county. The investor lost their entire investment after Griffiths failed to file the paperwork.

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In another scam in July 2020, Griffiths solicited two separate investments of $70,000 from the same investor for renovations on a different property. She then falsified documents from a title company that omitted multiple pre-existing encumbrances on the property, causing the investor to lose $70,000. The investor never made the second investment.

An investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service and the United States Postal Service resulted in Griffiths’ indictment. In June, she pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.

Following her sentencing, Griffiths was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

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A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on local news in Sioux Falls. He also writes regional news spanning across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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