A popular Las Vegas real estate agent was sentenced to jail last week for conning an elderly man with dementia out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Sophia Smith, 50, led the victim, 90-year-old Cornelius “Connie” Hoffmans, to believe they were in a romantic relationship, KLAS reported.
A Clark County jury found Smith guilty of theft, credit card fraud and exploiting an older or vulnerable person.
District Court Judge Carli Kierny handed down a six-month jail term with an additional suspended 12-to-30-year prison sentence, cautioning that if Smith violates probation within five years, she could face further imprisonment.
Smith, previously recognized as a “realtor with a purpose” by MyVegas Magazine, admitted to manipulating Hoffmans to feed her gambling addiction.
Prosecutors revealed Facebook posts where Smith referred to Hoffmans as her “best friend” and highlighted her involvement in the Strong A.R.M. Foundation, a nonprofit purportedly raising funds for underprivileged women and children. The foundation, described as a scam by prosecutors, funneled nearly 90 percent of donations directly to Smith.
Smith stole $638,000 from Hoffmans, financing her home, an RV and gambling debts.
Even though Smith is openly gay, court documents revealed that Hoffmans believed they were in a romantic relationship. Smith expressed regret for not disclosing her sexual orientation and apologized for manipulating, deceiving and taking advantage of her “best friend.”
In addition to the jail term, Smith was ordered to pay nearly $300,000 in restitution to the Hoffmans family. Smith has not faced charges related to the nonprofit.
— Ted Glanzer