Five sentenced in real estate scam that cost some their life savings
Wed, 25 May 2011 19:17:00 GMT —
Judge Terry Wooten sentenced five people involved in a real estate scam in a Florence federal courtroom Tuesday.
The scam involved a proposed development in North Myrtle Beach called Bahama Island and Crystal Palace. The condominiums were never built and U.S. Attorney Bill Day says there are more than 50 victims in the case and some lost their life savings. One couple had to come out of retirement and return back to work.
Day says Wooten sentenced Jeff Shoup to 88 months, with three years supervised release, and ordered him to pay $5,366,141.50 in restitution.
Tommy Hix received 40 months, with three years supervised release, and is ordered to pay $5,005,640.50.
Tiffany Travis was sentenced to 30 days in prison, with five years supervised release, and is ordered to pay $390,492 in restitution.
Darin Epps was sentenced to 33 months, with five years of supervised release, and is ordered to pay $390,492 in restitution.
Gary Albert Hager was sentenced to 24 months in prison, with five years supervised release, and is ordered to pay $25,110 in restitution.
Shoup, Epps, and Travis all plead guilty to mortgage fraud.
Day says partners Shoup and Hix of T&J development were pre-selling condos that hadn't been built yet and they led victims to believe the money was going into escrow accounts.
Instead, Day adds, the accounts were checking accounts with escrow in the name. Rather than receiving financing for the project, they sent millions to another investor who returned some of the money to them for them to live off of.
Everyone except Shoup received a reduced sentence because they cooperated with federal investigators.
Day says the five will be notified when they have to report to prison to serve out their sentences.
The federal investigation began in 2007.