Vero Beach lawyer Eric Granitur went on trial Monday at the federal courthouse in West Palm Beach, charged with conspiracy and making false statements in connection with mortgage loans that helped developer George Heaton keep moving ahead a decade ago with construction of the Vero Beach Hotel & Spa.
Among those set to testify against him was Heaton, who agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for a plea deal that will limit his own sentence to no more than five years in prison.
Granitur, 60, who performed escrow work in 2008 and 2009 for condominium units at the hotel, maintains his innocence, but prosecutors allege he and others lied to lenders about incentive programs, such as cash-to-close rebates, used to lure prospective buyers to the Ocean Drive development during the real estate slowdown.
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