A property developer who formerly lived in California is awaiting sentencing after reaching a plea agreement on charges of money laundering and wire fraud. The developer, who was once named Citizen of the Year in a city on the Central Coast, allegedly deceived property investors out of millions of dollars prior to the housing collapse in 2007. According to government estimation, the defendant's fraud was responsible for losses of $14.7 million suffered by 250 individuals.
Investors accused the developer of assuring them of the safety of their investments while he knew that these were false promises. According to the negotiated plea agreement with federal prosecutors, the defendant admitted to having sold the same lots that formed part of a property development project to numerous investors. He also confessed to obtaining financing from banks for the same lots that were sold to investors.
Both the defense and the prosecution addressed the court at the recent sentencing hearing, but it was ultimately postponed because it took up so much time. Some investors claimed that their lives had been ruined by the developer. The defense argued that a former business partner of the defendant was partly to blame. This individual has apparently also pleaded guilty in a separate proceeding.
Those in California who face fraud charges may find comfort in knowing that they do not have to fight their legal battles on their own. Experienced criminal defense attorneys are available to protect their legal rights. Every case is different, but all accused individuals are entitled to fair proceedings before an impartial court. As the sentencing hearing in this case moves forward, it remains to be seen whether the defendant's legal team can convince the court to impose a sentence toward the lower end of the federal sentencing guidelines.
Source: orovillemr.com, "'Citizen of the year' awaits sentence in fraud scheme", Amanda Lee Myers, June 29, 2015