|Published: 10:43 AM, 12/05/2012
Author: Staff Report
Source: The Monroe County Advocate
A federal grand jury in Chattanooga
indicted Maryville developer Michael Ross last week on charges of
mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.
The indictment includes one count of
mail fraud, 12 counts of wire fraud and 15 counts of money
laundering. It alleges that Ross, doing business as multiple
entities, including Rarity Club, Rarity Mountain and Rarity
Communities, devised a scheme "to defraud those who bought real
estate from his business."
Ross has been one of the most
influential developers in recent Monroe County history.
He collected money from real estate
buyers who were told it would be used to build a clubhouse, golf
course and other amenities to be used by property owners at Rarity
Club. The fees ranged from $25,000, $50,000 or $75,000 per lot,
according to the indictment.
Ross allegedly removed the money paid
by the buyers for the amenities from the account into which it was
initially deposited for use in his other real estate ventures,
contrary to what buyers were promised, the indictment says.
The indictment showed dates of wire
transactions conducted between Dec. 6, 2007, to Dec. 5, 2008, from
Citizens Bank of Blount County, routed from Tennessee to North
Carolina and back. The amounts ranged from $25,000 to more than $221,000.
Lee Davis, Ross' attorney, said Ross "maintains his innocence and that these are business transactions
and not criminal conduct. It is more a result of the downturn in the
real estate economy in East Tennessee in 2008 (and) 2009."
Story courtesy of the Maryville Daily
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