Real estate broker convicted of defrauding HUD gets 13 months in jail

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He was a successful real estate broker in Virginia Beach, who routinely made more than $100,000 a year while amassing more than $1 million in net assets. Even after finding himself under federal indictment, Robert Resh was able to earn $80,000 a year running a property management company.

Now he's going to jail.

Resh, formerly of Resh Realty Group and 757 Realty and now of Atlantic Coast Realty Corporation, was sentenced to 13 months in federal custody on charges he secretly bought government-owned properties across Hampton Roads he'd been hired to sell. He also was ordered to pay a $36,000 fine on top of $281,635 he'd already agreed to forfeit.

Prosecutors argued for an 18 month sentence and a $55,000 fine. The defense asked for probation.

According to court documents, Resh's scheme involved the improper sale of residential properties that had gone into foreclosure and been turned over to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Under the Single Family Mortgage Insurance Program, HUD tries to sell the properties it obtains for top dollar in order to offset any payments it must make to lenders. To do so, the department enlists the help of contractors, who in turn enlist the help of local real estate brokers like Resh.

Resh was to receive a commission of up to 3 percent for each sale he made, but he agreed to not buy any of the properties in question.

From January 2011 through May 2017, however, Resh repeatedly bought such properties with the help of real estate attorney Jerry Mack Douglas, a series of shell companies and various straw purchasers.

He did so despite specific warnings from HUD and Douglas not to do so.

Douglas, who has lost his law license, previously pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a federal agency. He was sentenced last year to probation.

"While knowing full well that he, his family members, his business partners, and his companies were prohibited from purchasing such properties, the defendant decided that the rules, and the law, did not apply to him," Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa O'Boyle wrote of Resh in court documents.

Defense attorney Lawrence Woodward Jr. countered the fraud scheme wasn't that elaborate and that HUD signed off on the final prices. He said neither HUD nor the banks that financed the mortgages suffered any loss.

Woodward argued jail time was unnecessary because his client was unlikely to break the law again and Douglas received a probation-only sentence. As a condition of probation, Woodward said, Resh could be required to speak to young business people and students about his "mistakes and wrongful actions."

"Mr. Resh, as an individual who has seen first hand the consequences of cutting corners, will be an effective messenger," he said.

U.S. District Judge Robert Doumar ruled jail time was necessary, though. Resh must surrender by March 4.

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Fraud Foreclosures Enforcement Court cases HUD FHA Virginia