Former real estate agent to pay $39,000 and serve 10-year probation

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NEW BOSTON, Texas: A former Texarkana real estate agent was ordered to surrender her license and pay $39,000 in restitution at a sentencing hearing Monday afternoon at the Bowie County courthouse.

Reena Corbin, 36, pleaded guilty to embezzling from her former employer, Coldwell Banker Elite, last month at a hearing before 102nd District Judge Bobby Lockhart with the understanding she would receive a term of probation. On Monday, Corbin appeared before Lockhart with Texarkana attorneys John Pickett and Joe Tyler for sentencing.

Lockhart heard testimony concerning the amount of restitution Corbin owes for money she diverted from her former employer. Corbin was a salaried employee earning $88,000 per year and was not entitled to commissions. However, Corbin contacted area title companies and arranged payments to herself to which she wasn’t entitled and then covered up her wrongdoing by deleting or altering records at Coldwell Banker and by creating a phony wire transfer receipt.

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In addition to stealing money that should have gone to Coldwell Banker or commissioned agents working for the company, Corbin pocketed small sums by charging her fellow employees for things, such as umbrellas with the company logo, which were supposed to be given to the agents free of charge.

Banking records attached as exhibits in the case show Corbin carried a large balance in her checking account during the time she was earning a non-commissioned salary and stealing money from Coldwell Banker. The records show large purchases were debited from Corbin’s accounts at toy stores, casinos and hotels.

Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp expressed concern that Corbin could continue to work as a real estate agent with access to all homes and properties for sale in the area should she receive a term of deferred adjudication probation. If a defendant successfully completes a term of deferred adjudication for a felony offense, they do not have a final conviction reflected on their criminal record.

Crisp said she is concerned that Corbin could quickly pay off the restitution and seek an early discharge from a deferred adjudication probation and continue in the real estate profession. Pickett said Corbin would surrender her real estate license.

Lockhart agreed to give Corbin, who has no prior felony convictions, a 10-year term of deferred adjudication probation with certain conditions. Corbin cannot work as a real estate agent or any employment which would give her a “fiduciary responsibility.” Corbin cannot receive an early discharge and must serve all 10 years of probation, Lockhart ordered.

Under questioning from Crisp, Alan Ribble, former owner of the Texarkana Coldwell Banker Elite franchise, said he sold his business at a loss after firing Corbin for stealing. Ribble said the experience has done more damage to his reputation and ability to trust others than it did to him financially.

After Corbin was fired from Coldwell Banker, she went to work for another area real estate agency. Ribble said Corbin falsely told people in the real estate community that the criminal charges against her were filed in retaliation because she left his employ.

“Unfortunately, some people still believe what she says,” Ribble wrote in a victim impact statement. “The consequences of a criminal who refuses to accept any blame for her actions and blame the victim for the crime can make the crime continue for long after the last dollar was stolen.”

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