DENVER, Colo. - It sounded like the perfect investment opportunity. They were to buy up distressed properties, renovate them and then flip them for a profit.
In fact, investors thought they were buying into newly renovated apartments with pools and sculpted gardens with the promise of a handsome return once they were sold.
"He (Thomas Evans) was buying distressed properties, he was going to renovate the units, hopefully have them leased and sell the property at a profit for the investors," explained U.S. Postal Inspector Jojan Henderson.
Inspectors said Evans solicited very wealthy investors to help bankroll various real estate projects. While recruiting investors, Evans was also taking out construction loans to begin the renovations. But, the project soon hit a snag.
"At some point, he started realizing he wasn't going to be able to sell the apartments at enough of an income to support his debt," said Henderson.
But instead of telling investors, authorities said he chose to falsify documents. If investors asked questions, Evans simply lied.
"At some point, the investors weren't sure what was going on. They went to visit the properties and they were in a horrible state of disrepair. The renovations he promised them were not getting done and there was no way he was getting the occupancy rate," Henderson explained.
More than 50 victims lost millions of dollars.
"They lost all of their investment because the property went into foreclosure," added Henderson.
Evans pleaded guilty to charges in the case. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison and ordered to pay $12 million in restitution to investors.
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