TX builder faces 3 years probation, $436K fine in housing scam

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  • A Texas homebuilder who prosecutors alleged committed fraud while selling new homes during the recession, and who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in October, has been sentenced to three years of probation. Developer Dean Buescher also must pay $436,434 in restitution, according to the Dallas Morning News.
  • Prosecutors alleged that Buescher, as part of a wider 2007 scheme, enlisted “straw buyers” to purchase his houses at padded prices so that he would have enough money to pay back development loans.
  • Called “builder bailouts,” such “sham transactions” resulted in at least seven other area builders being sent to prison, according to the Morning News.

Buescher, whose company left approximately 70 unfinished homes and vacant lots, was also sentenced to one day in federal prison and has already served that sentence.

Homebuilders are not the only ones who have been found guilty of playing fast and loose with finances when their businesses are in trouble. Earlier this month, Chicago real estate developer Laurance Freed and another company executive were convicted of several counts of fraud for attempting to obtain credit and loans falsely during a time of company financial hardship. Freed faces a total of 230 years in prison.

In another case of developer fraud, a Los Angeles federal grand jury indicted developers in February on charges they tried to scam government agencies out of more than $50 million in affordable housing loans by submitting invoices that “significantly overstated” actual construction costs.

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