REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT COMPANY OWNER INDICTED FOR $3.6 MILLION MORTGAGE FRAUD
WEDNESDAY, MAY 24, 2012
Public Affairs Officer
COLUMBUS – A federal grand jury here has returned a seven-count indictment charging Kevin D. Hightower, 42, of Reynoldsburg with defrauding lenders out of approximately $3,592,099.32 in mortgage loans in connection with 38 Columbus properties he purchased through his real estate investment company, Suite 500 LLC.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio and Darryl Williams, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS) announced the indictment returned today.
The indictment says Hightower bought the properties for $1,370,000 and intended to break up the properties and sell each of them individually for a profit. Hightower and others allegedly recruited prospective investors, often offering to provide the money for the buyers’ down payments because they were unable to provide down payments on their own.
Hightower allegedly arranged for the purchase prices of the homes to be at or above their market value so as to allow him to profit enough on the homes to cover both the down payment and to allow him to receive substantial sums of money at closing. Hightower allegedly used this money for his own personal profit as well as to pay other co-conspirators.
The houses, located in near eastside Columbus neighborhoods, went into foreclosure.
The indictment also alleges that Hightower made false statements as the executor of a charitable remainder trust to the financial institution that he was withdrawing money from the trust for charitable purposes and instead used the money to pay personal debts.
The indictment charges Hightower with one count each of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, and making false statements to a lending institution, each punishable by up to 30 years in prison. He is also charged with one count of wire fraud, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The indictment charges him with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and two counts of money laundering, each punishable by up to ten years in prison.
Stewart commended the investigation conducted by the IRS, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Fulton, who is prosecuting the case. Hightower will be summoned to appear in federal court.
An indictment merely contains allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.