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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bankrupt Developer Of Algonquin Project Sentenced To 15 Months In Federal Prison For $1 Million Bank Fraud

CHICAGO — The former owner of an area home building company that went bankrupt in 2008, leaving unfinished a commercial and residential property development in northwest suburban Algonquin, was sentenced today to 15 months in federal prison for bank fraud related to the collapse of the project, known as Riverside Square.

The defendant, BRUCE HAWKINS, 64, of Denver and formerly of Algonquin, who owned Aspen Homebuilders, Inc., was also ordered to pay $1,017,183 in restitution by U.S. District Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr. Hawkins, who pleaded guilty in January, was ordered to surrender to begin serving his sentence on Oct. 14.

“It is important that developers and general contractors know that if they commit fraud in the financing of their projects, their conduct will be met with serious consequences,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Sunil Harjani argued in a government sentencing memo. “It is important that developers know they will go to jail if they lie in bank documents in order to steal funds from financial institutions.”

Hawkins admitted defrauding Amcore Bank of more than $1 million from the proceeds of $13.5 million line of credit to finance the project. In September 2006, acting through Riverside Square, LLC, Hawkins obtained the bank loan to finance the construction of Riverside Square, located at 1100 West Algonquin Rd. Between January 2007 and June 2008, Hawkins fraudulently obtained slightly more than $1 million in loan proceeds from the bank by submitting false contractor statements, waiver of liens, and contract invoices that requested funds purportedly for village permits, construction work, and consulting work for the development.

To obtain funds from the bank loan, Hawkins submitted false contractor statements to the bank in which he verified that subcontractors and his company were owed funds for work performed on Riverside Square. Hawkins submitted, and caused the submission of, false lien waivers and invoices for work performed to the title company, which was designated by Amcore Bank to keep and disburse funds for the project. After these documents were submitted, the bank authorized the title company to disburse funds to Hawkins and the subcontractors.

The sentence was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and John Lucas, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General in Chicago.

Updated July 23, 2015