Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Utahn sent to prison for real estate fraud scheme
Judgment » Second man faces sentencing for scam in West Virginia.
First Published Aug 13 2012 05:57 pm • Last Updated Aug 13 2012 08:24 pm

A federal judge sentenced a Salt Lake City man to two years in federal prison after his guilty plea for real estate fraud schemes in West Virginia and California. A second Utah man also faces sentencing in the case that led to $7.5 million in losses by lenders.

Michael S. Hurd, 37, was sentenced to two years and three months for his part in orchestrating frauds tied to falsely inflated appraisals that led to loans for more than the market value of properties.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"This is the sort of activity that contributed to the financial collapse," U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston said last week when sentencing Hurd, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia.

Another Utah man, Raymond Morris, 51, South Weber, also pleaded guilty in the case to wire fraud and bank fraud. Morris faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine when he is sentenced by Johnston Oct. 29.

Hurd pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud involving properties in Hurricane, W.Va. He also pleaded guilty to mail fraud related to a scheme in Modesto, Calif.

The two cases were combined, and Hurd was sentenced in Charleston, W.Va.

Johnston noted that Hurd had faced significantly more time in prison, but received a reduction at the government’s request because of his cooperation against Morris and others, which led to further prosecutions in West Virginia, California and Utah.

In July, Morris was charged in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City with money laundering in a case involving companies he owned or controlled, including E&R Holdings, Wise Financial Holdings and Momentum Leasing.

The charges say instead of using investors’ monies as he had outlined, Morris used funds for personal expenses, to purchase a home and cars, and to make interest payments to initial investors. He agreed to plead guilty to the felony charge, according to court records.

Hurd operated a company called "The Gift Program" in the early and mid-2000s that he claimed did deals in which sellers paid down payments and initial mortgage payments on real estate. But Hurd admitted that instead of sellers providing those payments, he obtained inflated appraisals and then used funds from lenders for down payments and initial mortgage payments.


story continues below
story continues below

Morris found investors to purchase properties at the fraudulently inflated prices and Hurd then used The Gift Program to fund the transaction. Investors eventually defaulted on the loans, causing millions of dollars of losses to lenders.

Hurd also admitted he illegally flipped 20 properties in Modesto.

James R. Thornton, 48, Wilmington, N.C., pleaded guilty and received a reduced sentence last year of five years of probation. Deborah L. Joyce was sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison for involvement in the West Virginia subdivision, and her husband, Todd, received a sentence to one year and six months in prison.

tharvey@sltrib.com

Twitter: TomHarveySltrib



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.