HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A former fugitive accused of making millions in an elaborate real estate scam has reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.
48-year-old Jennifer McTigue pleaded guilty Wednesday to five of the 41 counts she was facing -- including wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy charges.
Tearing up as she addressed the judge, McTigue accepted responsibility for her role in the real estate debt elimination fraud scheme.
"I feel I must take responsibility for people being damaged and that's why I'm here today to plead guilty," said McTigue, who chose to represent herself and identifies as a "private non-citizen American national".
McTigue has been using the defense that federal courts don't have jurisdiction over her as a "ex-Patriot".
McTigue and two other alleged co-conspirators were indicted in January of 2014 on 45 counts -- including mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.
The three are accused of acquiring properties from distressed homeowners and falsifying agreements with them to appear as if their loans had been paid off. Prosecutors say they then sold the properties, raking in more than $3 million. Both Marc Melton and Sakara Blackwell have since pled guilty and had agreed to testify against McTigue at her trial, which was scheduled to begin Wednesday.
McTigue's bail was revoked after she failed to appear for a June 30 pre-trial hearing, leading a judge to issue a bench warrant for her arrest that resulted in a manhunt involving the U.S. Marshals and FBI. She was later found hiding in a friend's house.
McTigue faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Her sentencing has been scheduled for the end of October.