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Broker convicted for phony appraisals a suicide
DECATUR, Ill. (10/19/10)--A real estate broker who was convicted Oct. 1 of defrauding a credit union and property buyers in Decatur, Ill., with a real estate flipping scheme was found dead Friday, an apparent suicide (wandtv.com Oct. 15). Terry Hart, 58, the owner of Hart Realty, had been convicted of nine counts of fraud for the scheme, which centered on phony appraisals that defrauded the $104 million asset Staley CU and real estate buyers (7thspace.com Oct. 5). Hart and two others conspired to use fraudulent appraisals that prompted buyers to purchase real estate with financing from the credit union. The amounts financed were much greater than the worth of the properties, which were owned by Hart. The frauds allegedly occurred from 2002 to July 2005 and involved 40 real estate sales and financing transactions totaling more than $3 million. The frauds generated a $1 million potential loss for the credit union. Two others entered guilty pleas, also on nine counts of fraud. They are Diane Shelton, 62, former loan officer at the credit union, and Mark Brown, a former licensed real estate appraiser. Shelton and Brown are scheduled to be sentenced next month.


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