The Edmond Sun

Local News

July 28, 2011

4 men plead in Edmond condominium project case

EDMOND — An Edmond man has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge related to a failed Edmond commercial and residential development.

On Wednesday, Shawn Patrick Linn, 42, of Edmond, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge related to a failed Edmond commercial and residential development called The Falls, said Sanford C. Coats, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.

Earlier this year, Derek Christopher Swann, 38, of Oklahoma City, Giovanni Bryan Stinson, 38, of Edmond, and Mark A. Vanhoose, 32, of Oklahoma City, also pleaded guilty to felony charges in connection with The Falls.

According to the charges filed against Swann and Stinson, those two men decided in 2005 to try to build The Falls project in Edmond. The next year, Swann, Stinson and others at their direction began soliciting private investors for money to develop The Falls.

Swann and Stinson acquired investor proceeds for The Falls based on false information and then used those proceeds for personal expenses and repayment of earlier investors, according to the U.S. attorney’s report.

According to the charges, individuals invested more than $5 million into The Falls based on promises that the monies would be spent for engineering, architectural and infrastructure costs.

Rather than paying for those expenses, Swann and Stinson used investor proceeds to pay for golf and entertainment expenses at a private Oklahoma City golf club, to lease BMWs for The Falls’ officers and their spouses and to repay earlier investors who had been promised repayment.

The Falls project was never completed.

On Feb. 28, 2011, Swann pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering. At the plea hearing, Swann admitted that he helped to convince a Texas investor to wire $255,000 to a local bank for the Edmond project.

Swann further admitted that after receiving those funds, he transferred the money to another account and used some of those funds for purposes not disclosed to the investor.

On July 6, 2011, Stinson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud, in connection with raising investor proceeds for The Falls based on false information.

On Feb. 4, 2011, VanHoose pleaded guilty to conspiring to make false statements to Citizens Bank of Edmond for a $50,000 personal loan in his name.

On Wednesday, Linn pleaded guilty to conspiring to make false statements to Citizens Bank for the same loan.

According to the charges filed against VanHoose and Linn, the financial statements presented to the local bank for VanHoose exaggerated his assets and net worth.

At VanHoose’s plea hearing, he admitted that he conspired with Swann and Linn to get a $50,000 personal loan in his name from a local bank. VanHoose later diverted most of the loan proceeds, without the bank’s knowledge, to The Falls project.

Swann faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the money laundering count.

Stinson, Linn and VanHoose each face up to five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 for the conspiracy counts. Each defendant will also be required to pay restitution to victims.

Sentencing for VanHoose is set for Sept. 7, 2011. Sentencing for the other three defendants has not been set.

The cases were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service. They are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chris M. Stephens and Nick Lillard.

In a previous report published in The Edmond Sun in June 2006, groundbreaking for The Falls had occurred near the intersection of Vista Lane and Second Street and the first phase was to include 84 upscale condo units. Retail and office spaces were to be located nearby, giving residents easy access to shopping and dining. Pre-selling had begun.

marks@edmondsun.com | 341-2121, ext. 108

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