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Former Algonquin homebuilder sentenced to 15 months for bank fraud

Published: Thursday, July 31, 2014 4:48 p.m. CST

ALGONQUIN – A former area homebuilder was sentenced Thursday to 15 months in federal prison for defrauding a bank of more than $1 million tied to the failed Riverside Plaza project in downtown Algonquin.

Bruce Hawkins, 64, of Denver, Colo., and formerly of Algonquin, was also ordered to pay $1.017 million in restitution as part of the sentence, accepted by U.S. District Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr., according to the U.S. state's attorney for the Northern Illinois District.

Hawkins, who pleaded guilty in January, admitted that he used false contractor statements and invoices to defraud the former Amcore Bank of more than $1 million from the proceeds of a $13.5 million line of credit used to finance the Riverside Plaza development.

The village of Algonquin in 2006 selected Hawkins, the former owner of Aspen Homebuilders, to construct luxury condos at Routes 31 and 62. But Aspen Homebuilders went bankrupt in 2008, leaving the project and interior construction unfinished.

The development sat unfinished for two years, earning the nickname "Tyvek Tower" because it was wrapped in Tyvek building material. Lakeland Asset Management eventually took ownership of the property, and the owners currently are converting the condos into apartments.

Between January 2007 and June 2008, Hawkins fraudulently obtained more than $1 million from Amcore Bank through falsified invoices, contractor statements and lien waivers.

Hawkins purportedly needed the money to cover village permits, construction costs and consulting work for the Algonquin project, federal prosecutors said.

In one instance, Hawkins received an additional $25,000 by changing numbers on a subcontractor’s invoice, so he could claim $188,700 instead of the rightly owed $163,700, prosecutors said in November 2012 after charging Hawkins with bank fraud.

On Thursday, Hawkins was ordered to begin serving his 15-month sentence on Oct. 14.

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