Michael Keith Burchyett mug shot

Michael Keith Burchyett

A Franklin real estate agent has been sentenced to 90 days in jail and 10 years of probation after accepting a plea deal for his role in defrauding a Chinese national who thought she was buying a home in Franklin earlier this year.

Michael Keith Burchyett, 43, was originally charged with theft of property $60,000-$250,00, criminal simulation, $250,000 or more, and money laundering, following a April 2021 Williamson County Grand Jury indictment and investigation by the Franklin Police Department.

On Friday, Dec. 3, Burchyett accepted a plea deal with prosecutors that saw him plead guilty to the lesser charge of theft over $60,000 — a class B felony — while the other two charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

Burchyett originally faced between 15-20 years in prison if he had been convicted of the three charges, but he will now serve his 90-day stint in the Williamson County Jail beginning on Jan. 3, 2022. 

According to the indictment, the charges originated from May 2018, and prosecutors detailed the scheme during the plea hearing.

According to Assistant District Attorney Carlin Hess, it began in May 2018 when a Chinese resident named Xiaoyun Gao retained Burchyett as a real estate agent in order to purchase a home on Jetson Court in Franklin.

“Mr. Burchyett took the funds totaling $495,000 and purchased the residence for himself through his company, MKB Holdings LLC,” Hess told the court. “He then provided Ms. Gao with fraudulent warranty deed documentation causing her to believe that she in fact owned the property.”

Hess said that Burchyett then sold the property the following month through Open Door, an online residential real estate company, for $447,000.

“Mr. Burchyett further led Ms. Gao to believe that she had purchased the property over the course of the next several months by acting as a rental agent for the property and sending her what she believed to be proceeds from the rental income,” Hess continued. “Ms. Gao discovered the fraud when she attempted to pay property tax on the residence.”

In addition to Burchyett’s jail time and decade of probation, he also agreed to pay restitution to Gao in the amount of $495,000 — $300,000 of which was paid on Friday — as well as annual payments of $19,500 to be paid until the restitution is paid in full.