Local Businessman Indicted on Fraud, Money Laundering Charges
Michael Wayne Harding Faces Seven Counts
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA -- A Federal Grand Jury sitting in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Charlottesville has indicted a local businessman on a variety of fraud and money laundering charges.
In an indictment returned under seal on September 12, 2012 and unsealed this afternoon following the defendant’s initial court appearance this morning, the grand jury has charged Michael Wayne Harding, 59, of Albemarle County, in a seven-count indictment.
Harding has been charged with two counts of mortgage fraud, two counts of money laundering and three counts of bankruptcy fraud.
According to the indictment, Harding was the president and sole employee of a company called HMC Holdings. On numerous occasions, Harding is alleged to have secured mortgages for properties HMC Holdings owned based on improvements that had been made to those properties. However, in order to secure the mortgages, Harding was required to provide the mortgage companies with proof that work had been done to the properties. Harding is alleged to have created fake invoices in order to secure the mortgages.
The indictment also alleges that after being issued checks by the mortgage companies intended for the contractors, Harding took those checks to local businesses and had the funds converted for his own personal use.
In April 2011, Harding filed bankruptcy. The indictment alleges that during his bankruptcy proceedings Harding filed false Monthly Operating Reports, failed to deposit all income into his Debtor-in-Possession account, which is required, and lied about forging signatures on releases, liens and deeds of trust.
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum possible penalty of up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000,000 on each mortgage fraud charge, a maximum possible penalty of up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $500,000 on each money laundering charge and a maximum possible penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for each bankruptcy fraud charge.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Albemarle County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, the Virginia State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS Criminal Investigation and the Office of the United States Trustee. Special Assistant United States Attorneys Matt Quatrara, Elliott Casey and Assistant United States Attorney Ronald Huber are prosecuting the case for the United States.
A Grand Jury indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial with the burden on the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.