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Two more indictments in condo kickback scheme

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  • | 4:36 p.m. October 19, 2015
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Two California residents have been charged for their role in what federal prosecutors call a kickback scheme involving a failed condo conversion project in Hillsborough County.

Gary Hughes, 35, of San Diego and Jason Martin, 36, of Orange County, were each charged with one count of mortgage fraud conspiracy involving bank fraud and other related substantive charges. Hughes and Martin each face up to 30 years in prison on each count, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa.

The charges against Hughes and Martin stem from a long-running investigation by the FBI and the Federal Housing Finance Agency-Office of Inspector General involving condo sales at The Arbors, an apartment complex in Hillsborough County.

One defendant, Brendan Bolger, added various buyers' incentives to purchase contracts to help entice people to buy units at The Arbors, according to prosecutors. The incentives included rental supplements, money to defray maintenance costs and a design credit to upgrade the units' amenities. A buyer would then cancel the design credit, and Bolger would pay them a kickback in an amount equal to the design credit through a co-conspirator, authorities allege. The buyer would then use that cash to pay closing costs.

These financing arrangements were not disclosed on loan applications to banks and other financial institutions. Bolger pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank, wire and mail fraud and was sentenced to two years in federal prison last month.

Hughes's and Martin's roles in the conspiracy as mortgage brokers consisted of originating mortgages for The Arbors units through entities named Envision Lending and Set 2 Go Loans, prosecutors allege. The loan applications Martin and Hughes submitted contained material misrepresentations, including false occupancy and inflated borrower income and asset information, authorities also contend. These loan applications were submitted to FDIC insured institutions and other mortgage lenders. Additionally, through their company, HUMAR Investments, Hughes and Martin provided the borrowers cash to close without disclosing the payments to the lenders, according to prosecutors.


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