April 22, 2016

By Bob Coleman
Editor, Fraud Friday

Fraud Friday — The $3.9 Million Apartment Construction Loan Secured by, Oops, Where are the Apartments?

I guess my editorial philosophy is to lean toward the community bankers and borrowers who are indicted because of losses to the Treasury’s TARP program or to the FDIC. And give them the benefit of the doubt unless proven otherwise.

Daily, I see these stories cross my desk and always wonder ok, there may be some malfeasance in the gray areas, but where are the Wall Street bankers and their customers in these news releases?

Anyway, this one popped up, but even I have to think the government’s case is pretty strong.

“The fraud was discovered when an FDIC examiner drove to 611 E. Park St., C, to inspect the building and discovered an empty lot. At the time the FDIC examiner discovered the fraud, the amount loaned was approximately $2.4 million. No building was ever put up on the site.

“During the plea, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Bohm told Bruce that Hardwick spent some of the money on a trip to France, unrelated real estate taxes, car payments and multiple credit card payment.”

Gene T. Hardwick, 73, faces two years in prison from his dealings with a $3.9 million loan to build a 64-unit apartment building from Longview State Bank in Champaign, Illinois in 2007.