WASHINGTON – 20 January 2012 – The owner and president of Evans Real Estate Group LLC and a property manager and organizer of real estate investment funds pleaded guilty today for his role in defrauding investors in real estate investment funds that invested in the acquisition, renovation and continued operation of existing apartment complexes in Texas, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
Thomas B. Evans, 47, of Centennial, Colo., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Christine M. Arguello in Denver to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Evans was charged in a criminal information filed on Nov. 18, 2011.
According to plea documents, from at least April 2005 until April 2007, Evans and his co-conspirator engaged in a scheme to defraud investors in the Garden Stone Apartments LP; Ventana Apartments LP; and Aspen Chase Investments LP real estate investment funds, which were established to acquire, renovate and operate existing apartment complexes in Austin, Dallas and San Antonio, Texas. Upon completion of the renovation of the complexes, they were to be sold for a profit.
According to court documents, Evans and his co-conspirator misappropriated project funds; prepared monthly false financial statements for the projects that were sent to investors and banks and other lending institutions; prepared quarterly letters to investors misrepresenting the progress of apartment renovations and occupancy rates; and prepared falsified rent rolls to banks and lending institutions. When a receiver assumed operation of the properties in April 2007, Evans and his co-conspirator provided access to their electronic accounting system, including falsified financial statements, without informing the receiver of the falsity of the information therein. According to the plea agreement, the government asserts that the fraud perpetrated by Evans and his co-conspirator caused investors to lose approximately $9.7 million.
At sentencing, scheduled for Aug. 14, 2012, Evans faces a maximum prison term of 30 years. In addition, the criminal information seeks forfeiture.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Nicole H. Sprinzen of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The case is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
This prosecution is part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.gov.