Phony Real Estate Appraisals Cost Staley CU $1 Million

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URBANA, Ill. – A licensed real estate broker who appraised loans for Staley CU on Friday was convicted of providing phony appraisals on 40 real estate loans, costing the Decatur credit union $1 million in potential losses on the loans.

Terry Hart, 58, owner of Hart Realty in Decatur, was charged with conspiring with Diane Shelton, 62, a former loan officer at the credit union, and Mark Brown a former licensed real estate appraiser. Shelton and Brown entered guilty pleas to nine counts of fraud and are scheduled for sentencing Nov. 12.

The trio used fraudulent appraisals prepared by Brown to cause buyers to purchase and Staley CU to finance residential real estate properties owned by Hart and financed at amounts substantially higher than their expected values between 2002 and 2005, according to prosecutors. Hart and Shelton also received payment of loan proceeds and kicked back payment to Brown through appraisal fees. The loans totaled $3 million, of which $600,000 went to Hart.

Hart is scheduled to be sentenced in January.


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