‘Top’ Las Vegas realtor scammed ‘best friend’ with dementia out of house, hundreds of thousands – KLAS – 8 News Now

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Sophia Smith, 50, started Strong A.R.M. Foundation, prosecutors say

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas-area realtor convicted of exploiting an older man with dementia out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, while convincing him they were in a relationship, will spend the next four months in jail and could go to prison if she violates probation.

Last month, a Clark County jury found Sophia Smith, 50, guilty of exploiting an older or vulnerable person, theft and credit card fraud.

In court Tuesday, Clark County District Court Judge Carli Kierny sentenced Smith to a six-month jail term with a suspended 12-to-30-year prison sentence. If Smith violates her probation within five years, she will have to report to prison, Kierny ordered.

“In my addiction, I manipulated someone that loves me unconditionally just to feed my habit,” Smith told the court before Kierny sentenced her.

In court documents, prosecutors included this Facebook post with Sophia Smith and her victim, Cornelius “Connie” Hoffmans, where Smith repeatedly called the now-90-year-old her “best friend.” (KLAS)

MyVegas Magazine named Smith “a realtor with a purpose” in its 2021 issue featuring the “top 100 real estate professionals.”

In court documents, prosecutors included Facebook posts with Smith and her victim, Cornelius “Connie” Hoffmans, where Smith repeatedly called the now-90-year-old her “best friend.”

“At some point in my friendship with Connie, I became a gamble-holic,” Smith said, “In my addiction and losing money gambling, I became greedy.”

That greed, according to prosecutors, began with a donation to Smith’s non-profit, the Strong A.R.M. Foundation.

A Clark County Detention Center booking photo for Sophia Smith. (LVMPD/KLAS)

“She knew she was elderly,” Clark County Deputy District Attorney Austin Beaumont said. “She knew he had memory issues, and she knew he had dementia.”

Beaumont said the nonprofit, which raised money for underprivileged women and children to buy equipment and uniforms, was a scam, with nearly 90% of donations going to Smith directly. The nonprofit’s website remained active as of Tuesday.

“Ironically, her foundation’s name, Strong Arm Foundation, was used to effectively strong-arm Mr. Hoffmans into giving her that $638,223.56,” Beaumont said, highlighting the total amount stolen.

The money funded a home, an RV and Smith’s gambling debts, documents said. Smith bought the home for $275,000 of Hoffmans’ money, documents said. The Hoffmans family later received the home and RV in a civil lawsuit.

In court documents, prosecutors included this Facebook post with Sophia Smith and her victim, Cornelius “Connie” Hoffmans, where Smith repeatedly called the now-90-year-old her “best friend.” (KLAS)

Court documents indicate Hoffmans believed he and Smith were dating, though Smith is openly gay.

“Did you have a romantic relationship with her?” a prosecutor asked Smith during a 2022 grand jury hearing.

“We dated,” he replied.

“I’m sorry that I didn’t tell Connie I was gay,” Smith said in court Tuesday. “But most of all, I’m sorry for manipulating, deceiving and taking advantage of my best friend.”

In court Tuesday, Clark County District Court Judge Carli Kierny sentenced Smith to a six-month jail term with a suspended 12-to-30-year prison sentence. (KLAS)

During the sentencing, Kierny noted Hoffmans was likely unaware Smith was taking advantage of him.

“It’s such a sad situation that you took advantage of that trust in the way that you did,” the judge told Smith.

In addition to the jail sentence, Kierny ordered Smith to pay the Hoffmans estate nearly $300,000 in restitution.

Smith has not faced charges connected to the foundation.

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