Former Peoria Real Estate Developer to Serve Two Years in Prison for Role in Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 08, 2013|
SPRINGFIELD, IL—Former Peoria, Illinois real estate developer Shara Andrews, now of Mobile, Alabama, was sentenced today in Springfield. Andrews, 40, formerly known as Shara Manning, was ordered to serve 24 months in prison and pay restitution in the amount of $598,536 to various real estate buyers and the bank. Andrews was ordered to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons on January 1, 2014, to begin serving her prison sentence. Andrews was also ordered to remain on supervised release for five years following completion of her prison term.
On February 13, 2013, Andrews entered pleas of guilty to a single count each of bank fraud and money laundering. At the time of the fraud, Andrews was the owner and operator of Shara Manning Properties (SMP), a real estate development and construction company based in Peoria.
In court documents and statements, Andrews admitted that in November 2004, she purchased, on behalf of her company, a residential development property in Peoria known as the Wyndhill Estates subdivision. To finance the purchase, Andrews obtained a bank loan of $895,000. In March 2005, Andrews obtained a second loan from the bank for $670,000 for development of the subdivision. The two loans were later consolidated into a single loan of approximately $1,453,000, which was secured by the Wyndhill Estates Project real estate.
Andrews’ firm was the developer and general contractor for the project. From August 2006 to January 2009, Andrews sold lots, ranging in price from $80,000 to $300,000, to various real estate buyers and then served as the general contractor for construction of the buyers’ homes. As part of the bank’s loan agreement and to obtain a release of the mortgage from the bank, Andrews was required to make payment to the bank when an individual lot was sold. The release of the mortgage from the bank was also necessary to fulfill Andrew’s obligation to provide clear title to the real estate buyers.
Andrews admitted that she converted money to her personal use and that of her company, rather than repaying the bank as required and ensuring clear title to the buyers. As part of the fraud scheme, Andrews wrote a check, which she knew would bounce due to insufficient funds, to the bank for release of a mortgage and then converted the proceeds from the lot’s sale to her and her company’s use. Andrews submitted fraudulent lien waivers from subcontractors and suppliers to real estate buyers to cause the buyers to release funds to her. Those funds were then converted to her personal use and to the use of SMP.
The charges were investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Bass.