A federal jury last week found the lawyer who performed escrow work a decade ago for luxury condominium units at the Vero Beach Hotel and Spa guilty of conspiracy and bank fraud. Unlike hotel developer George Heaton and another co-defendant, Eric Granitur, 60, maintained his innocence and took his case to trial. He now faces up to 30 years in prison.
Prosecutors alleged Granitur, Heaton 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 slow down.
This gave banks a false impression of the viability of the project and allowed developers to secure the funds they needed to complete construction of Vero’s most luxurious hotel without proper scrutiny, argued Joseph Capone, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney. The prosecutor specializes in real-estate fraud and travelled from Washington, D.C. to West Palm Beach for the trial.
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