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Press Release

Charlotte Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Fraudulent Real Estate Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

GREENVILLE, S.C. —Dennis S. Lepka, Jr., 42, of Charlotte, North Carolina, was sentenced to six and a half years in federal prison for his role in a real estate fraud scheme. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began an investigation after they received multiple complaints that Lepka was engaging in fraudulent real estate transactions. Lepka’s business model was built upon misleading both sellers and buyers of residential properties. He promised the sellers that he would purchase their home and take over their outstanding mortgage. In some instances, Lepka told them they would stay on the mortgage as a credit repair service. He assured the buyers that they were in a rent-to-own agreement with Lepka. In truth, Lepka did not own the properties he was selling. He concealed information about existing mortgages from the buyers and did not disclose to the banks holding mortgages that real estate transactions were taking place. He required the buyers to provide substantial down payments and then make monthly payments to him. Lepka did not make the mortgage payments to the original lenders and multiple properties went into foreclosure. Some victims became homeless as a result.

Evidence showed that Lepka targeted members of the Hispanic community because of their immigration status. Lepka believed that victims without legal status would be reluctant to report fraud to the authorities. Lepka also expressed to his victims that they should trust him because he was a practicing Christian. Victims who spoke at the sentencing expressed hurt that Lepka appealed to their faith to lure them into transactions.

United States District Judge Timothy M. Cain sentenced Lepka to 78 months imprisonment. He also ordered him to pay $2,020,213.50 in restitution. There is no parole in the federal system.

This case was investigated by the FBI Columbia Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Watkins prosecuted the case. 



MEDIA CONTACT:   Veronica Hill, Public Affairs Specialist, U.S. Attorney’s Office,, (803) 929-3000

Updated May 31, 2024