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Charlotte real estate agent pleads guilty to stealing appliances

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -

Federal authorities say a former Charlotte-area real estate agent has pleaded guilty on charges that she sold appliances stolen from vacant homes owned by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

The U.S. Attorney's office said 49-year-old Sember Lynn Smathers pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiracy to steal government property. 

According to documents, Smathers used a master key to enter the vacant HUD homes and removed appliances valued at $13,678 from the homes between September 2008 and July 2009. 

In February 2009, prosecutors say Smathers and a co-conspirator set up a business in Shelby where they sold the appliances and other items stolen from the homes. 

Smathers is free on bond pending her sentencing. She faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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