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According to documents from the U.S. Department of Justice, UFC middleweight title contender, one-time Republican political candidate and part-time realtor Chael Sonnen has pled guilty to money laundering and could face twenty years in jail and a $500,000 fine.

Sonnen dropped out of the race for the Oregon House District 37 mid-race in early 2010, claiming a 2006 real estate issue that named him required a ruling that ay affect his eligibility for office. 

That ruling subsequently saw Sonnen put his hand up to taking out a $69,000 subprime mortgage on the basis of needed plumbing repairs on a property. According to documents, the plumber in question allegedly did a deal with Sonnen and others to send $65,000 back to them.

From the documents:

Sonnen, a licensed realtor in the State of Oregon, admitted that a financial transaction he conducted was designed to conceal or disguise the ownership and control of the proceeds of wire fraud. The scheme involved Joel Rosabal and Chadwick Amsden, employees of Crown Point Enterprises, dba Lighthouse Financial Group (Lighthouse), a mortgage brokerage service based principally in Vancouver, Washington, with operations in Oregon and elsewhere.

Rosabal and Amsden submitted a materially false loan application on the buyer’s behalf to Decision One Mortgage, a subprime lending institution that is now defunct, for the purchase of residential property located at 11249 SE Rolling Hills Lane, Portland, Oregon. Sonnen acted as the realtor for the transaction.

Sonnen submitted a false letter and Sales Agreement Addendum instructing the title company to pay loan proceeds to a plumbing company for repairs to the home. In fact, Sonnen knew and had negotiated with Rosabal that no repairs would be performed on the home and the funds designated to the plumbing company would instead be paid to the buyer as a cash incentive to purchase the home.

This agreement was not disclosed to Decision One Mortgage. Once the loan was funded, the title company paid over $69,000 to the plumbing company and the plumbing company, in turn and at Sonnen’s direction, paid $65,000 to the buyer of the home.

Reports indicate prosecutors are likely to only ask for two years probation, which would suggest either Sonnen was a peripheral member of the scam, or has rolled over on others involved in the plan. Sentencing is expected on March 28.

UFC President Dana White has suspended Sonnen while the situation is sorted out.

This is just the latest bombshell involving Sonnen and it comes barely a month after he was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission for testing positive to testosterone. Sonnen argued he suffered from hypogonadism and was required to take testosterone as a result. He subsequently became embroiled in a racism flap after tweeting to potential opponent Wanderlei Silva ”You’re lucky your brother Joe’s the matchmaker or you’d be sellin’ barbecued monkey on the street in Manaus,” and “If it wasn’t for me, you would be thrashing around the jungle w/a blowgun trying’ to catch breakfast.” 

The fight he tested positive for was a world title fight in which Sonnen ground-and-pounded Anderson Silva for most of five rounds before being caught in a last ditch submission hold, losing the fight as a result.

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