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Real estate fraud leads to prison time for Eagan man

Even though it was argued the former vice president of a St. Paul developer's real estate firm never financially gained from a real estate fraud scheme, he was still sentenced to serve a year and one day in prison. Out of the nine charged in this real estate fraud, he was the only one to receive prison time.

In looking at the accusations, according to court documents, during the housing boom an old office building was converted into condominiums. However, five of these condos were just not selling quickly enough. There was a buyer interested, but this buyer did not want to pay the full $1.4 million asking price.

This was allegedly when the scheme was developed to make them appear to be sold at the asking price, while really there were discounts in the form of false leases and other charges. The claim was that in order for this real estate fraud scheme to work, the former vice president had to lie and order others to falsify certain documents.

The former vice president was accused of being responsible for more than $450,000 in kickbacks. However, as his attorney argued, he received no financial incentives himself.

Originally, the push was for the former vice president to be sentenced to 41 months in prison.

In this case, friends and family did write letters on behalf of the former vice president explaining that he was a caring and good person and that his professional life had just taken a bad turn. Even the judge recognized that the charge against him was inconsistent with the rest of his life.

In the end, he pleaded guilty to mail fraud. He was sentenced to one year and one day in prison and will have to complete 150 hours of community service upon his release.

As this case goes to show, white collar crimes are ones that can have severe consequences and should be taken seriously. A criminal defense attorney with experience handling different types of fraud cases can examine the facts and help build a case.

Source: Star Tribune, "Eagan leader of real estate fraud scheme gets prison," Janet Moore, April 3, 2013

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