Lying on loan application nets 27-month federal prison term

Lying on loan application nets 27-month federal prison term

URBANA — A California man who admitted he lied on a loan application to buy a Rantoul apartment complex has been sentenced to 27 months in federal prison.

U.S. District Judge Michael P. McCuskey also ordered Michael Allen Cox, 39, to pay $650,000 restitution to the victim bank. After his prison term, Cox will remain on supervised release for five years with a condition that he cannot engage in real estate transactions without approval from his probation officer.

In February, Cox pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the Bank of Rantoul in July 2008. He admitted he provided a false escrow receipt for $250,000 as proof of funding necessary to rehabilitate the Parkview Rentals Apartments at 1400 Hobson Drive in Rantoul. Cox admitted the escrow receipt, which appeared to be a cashier's check for $250,000 from Wells Fargo Bank, was false and no such deposit existed.

In July 2008, Cox, acting as the chief operating officer for Crane and Power Industries, Los Angeles, received a $1.66 million loan to buy the Parkview apartments. Cox set up Evergreen Property Management to collect rent from the rental properties and to manage the rehabilitation of the property.

By February 2009, Crane and Power failed to make mortgage payments and the property went into foreclosure. The apartments were in complete disrepair and deemed uninhabitable by the time the foreclosure was finalized in September 2009.

Bank of Rantoul was unable to sell the property, which was eventually deeded to the Village of Rantoul in February 2011, at a loss of approximately $2 million on the property.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation worked up the case against Cox. He was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronda H. Coleman.

McCuskey imposed the sentenced last week.

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