Low-Income Housing Developer Charged with Fraud for Allegedly Creating a False Pass-Through Company in Scheme to Defraud Lenders and USDA
DES MOINES, Iowa —A longtime developer of low-income housing in Iowa, Jeffrey W. VOORHEES, has been charged with creating a false pass-through company in order to artificially inflate a loan to rehabilitate a housing development located in various towns and cities in Iowa, announced United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum.
According to the indictment, VOORHEES, acting through his own consulting company and a not-for-profit entity, purchased and rehabilitated seven properties which together formed what was referred to as Candleridge VII. The properties were purchased with a United States Department of Agriculture direct loan, and were rehabilitated with a private bank loan that was guaranteed by USDA in the event of default. Brian L. PITTMAN, the general contractor on the development, is also charged in the scheme with VOORHEES. Together, PITTMAN and VOORHEES are alleged to have artificially inflated construction costs and created a pass-through company, Rural Construction Services, in order to obtain approximately $359,000 in artificially inflated loan proceeds. VOORHEES is also alleged to have artificially inflated other costs in the loan to obtain an additional approximately $318,000 in loan proceeds. The loan proceeds were to be repaid using USDA-subsidized tenant rents.
The purpose of these USDA loan programs is to support the development of rental units for low- and moderate-income individuals and families in rural areas and towns. USDA regulates how the loan proceeds can be spent, and also imposes requirements on the borrowers to disclose any identity of interest relationships. The indictment alleges that VOORHEES knew these regulations but did not follow them in order to unlawfully profit from the USDA loan programs.
VOORHEES and PITTMAN are together charged with five counts of wire fraud affecting a financial institution. Each of those counts is punishable by up to 30 years in prison. The indictment also charges VOORHEES with three felony counts relating to allegedly moving the profits of RCS into bank accounts in his wife’s name, each count of which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This investigation was conducted by the USDA-Office of Inspector General, and the case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.
Rachel J. Scherle