Driveway-Repair Frauds Target Older Residents

Urbana - A Champaign real estate developer pleads guilty to bank fraud. 

73-year-old Gene Hardwick entered a guilty plea Monday related to a $3.9 million bank loan he received in 2007. 

The United States Department of Justice says Hardwick obtained the bank loan to construct a 64-unit apartment building in Champaign. After receiving the loan, officials say Hardwick admitted that he used some of the loan proceeds to purchase the lot, at 611 East Park Street, but diverted other loan proceeds to personal expenses. During yesterday's court proceedings, the government advised the court that these personal expenses included a trip to France and multiple credit card payments. 

The fraud was discovered when an FDIC examiner drove to 611 East Park Street in Champaign to inspect the building and discovered an empty lot. At the time the FDIC examiner discovered the fraud, officials say the amount loaned was approximately $2.4 million. 

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Hardwick agreed to continue to make restitution payments to the bank. Hardwick could also face two years in prison. Hardwick will get his sentence in August.