After helping drug dealers buy a house and failing to pay income taxes on $1.4 million, Phoenix-based celebrity real-estate “guru” and a self-described graduate of the “new school of self-made moguls” Tanya Marchiol was sentenced to spend four years in prison on charges of money laundering and tax evasion.
“Unable to succeed legitimately as a real estate agent, Marchiol simply defrauded investors, lenders, and committed money laundering to finance her love for money,” said prosecutors. “Consistent with her selfishness, Marchiol radiated contempt for others, evidenced by interviews with her own employees and investors.”
Though Marchiol initially pleaded not guilty, expressing remorse to the court, prosecutors accused her of ongoing fraud before, during, and after her trial. Ultimately, Marchiol received less than half of the nine-year prison term federal prosecutors were seeking.
“Ms. Marchiol has accepted responsibility for her involvement and has been nothing but cooperative and forthright with (authorities),” said Ed Novak, Marchiol’s attorney. “The collateral consequences of this matter have been significant. Ms. Marchiol has seen the loss of her real estate and broker’s license, loss of her income revenue and loss of professional reputation.”
Marchiol’s journey to local fame and, ultimately, prison began in 2000, when she first decided to venture into real estate. After learning all she possibly could about the industry while she recovered from an accident, Marchiol went on to found Team Investments in Phoenix. She cultivated her celebrity status after the economic downturn, and grew a list of celebrity clients.
She even went on to write a book, “The Prosperity Principles: Secrets to Developing and Maintaining Generational Wealth,” in which she told readers that “running your life like a business where everything you do can be deducted from your reportable income as a business expense.”
In 2013, she was indicted on charges of tax evasion and conspiring with drug traffickers to purchase a home to hide their source of income. The drug dealers paid Marchiol $140,000 in cash for the house, which she then put into a business account, laundering the money with funds she’d received from her celebrity clients.
While Marchiol did receive prison time, prosecutors wanted a steeper punishment for the real estate “guru,” trying to prove she committed several other criminal acts, such as fraud, but were unable to prove anything.
Novak countered saying that evidence shows shorter sentences serve as tremendous deterrents to white-collar offenders, such as Marchiol.
“The impact on her personally and her family cannot be overstated,” said Novak. “Any amount of incarceration serves as a tremendous cautionary reminder for her and others that criminal conduct carries serious consequences.”