FDLE investigation leads to four arrests on scheme to defraud

TAMPA BAY, Fla. – An investigation led by the Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center, Brooksville Office, of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has led to the arrest of four suspects on a charge of organized scheme to defraud relating to the sale of a home with sinkhole property damage.
Those arrested are: Clarence Surrena and Mary Surrena of 230 E. Panama Rd., Winter Springs; Karen Sherwin of 5230 Miller Bayou Dr., Port Richey; and Shawn Poole of 17529 Monteverde Dr., Spring Hill.
During the investigation, agents found that Clarence and Mary Surrena sold their home at 18735 Bonnie Drive, Spring Hill, in Pasco County, to a couple for $275,000. Prior to the closing, the Surrenas completed a Seller’s Disclosure Form on which they denied any sinkhole damage to their property. The Surrenas did acknowledge filing a sinkhole claim; however, they did not reveal the claim was paid. Although the Surrenas received $155,000 in October 2013 to fix the sinkhole, the money was not used for that purpose.
Both Karen Sherwin, the Surrenas’ realtor, and Shawn Poole, the buyers’ agent, were aware of the insurance claim and the incomplete Seller’s Disclosure Form. The buyers only became aware of the sinkhole after moving into their home when a representative of a home insurance company called to say the home could not be insured. The buyers believed they were insured at closing.
Clarence and Mary Surrena were both taken to the Seminole County Jail on $15,000 bond each; Karen Sherwin and Shawn Poole were both taken to the Pasco County Jail on $5,000 bond each.
The case will be prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office, 6th Judicial Circuit.