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The Critical Eye!

Michael Leavitt’s professional inspection related blog.

Real Estate Broker - Jail Time For Forging Termite Documents

Real Estate Broker - Jail Time For Forging Termite Documents

And fear spread throughout the Northern Utah real estate community...

b2ap3_thumbnail_1Michael_Leavitt_160_20130418-202348_1.jpg

I was saddened to read the story of the real estate broker in Vernal that felt he needed to forge

 

documents to complete his real estate transactions. One of the documents he forged must have been the NPMA-33 termite, since this is the official report needed for many HUD backed loans. I look forward to learning more about the how’s and why’s, since all he had to do was make a call to somebody like me and the termite inspections could have been done the same day he called. This was especially true back in the 2011 to 2012 time frame of which he did this at least 14 times. It isn’t like the real estate market was booming then, and I am sure the termite inspectors in his area could have easily accomodated his request.

This gives a black eye to all of the legitimate Coldwell Banker agents, especially those who receive theit “Top Selling Agent” type of awards. What would bring a person to that level to forge the signatures on the HUD documents? Well the truth is that the termite related HUD forms are easy documents to locate online, and even easier to fill out and print. This is the first time I have ever heard of there being any follow-up on a termite report by Federal officials, especially an investigation leading to jail time. It is pretty cool to learn that somebody is even reading and checking up on these regularly used forms. I wonder if this will limit the amount of home inspectors that have no formal wood destroying insect inspection training, yet they are completing the WDMA-33 form as though they do have the credentials? I certainly hope so, but only time will tell.

Here are the Deseret News story details...


 

Vernal real estate broker gets jail time for forging termite records

b2ap3_thumbnail_DNews.jpgBy Geoff Liesik, Deseret News

Wednesday, Nov. 6 2013 11:25 a.m. MST

VERNAL — An award-winning real estate broker has been sentenced for forging federal termite inspection records and other mortgage documents.

On Tuesday, 8th District Judge Clark McClellan sentenced Kyle David Ashworth to serve 14 concurrent terms of up to five years in prison for his convictions on eight counts of forgery and six counts of communications fraud. The charges are all third-degree felonies.

McClellan then suspended the prison sentences. He ordered Ashworth to serve one month in the Uintah County Jail before Dec. 31.

Ashworth, 31, forged the signatures of developers Scott Gardner and Rulon Gardner, as well as the signature of the owner of Omega Pest Control on documents that were sent to mortgage lenders to obtain loans for prospective buyers, according to court records filed as part of his guilty plea.

The forgeries took place between February 2011 and September 2012, according to Vernal police who investigated the case along with the inspector general's office for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Ashworth was initially charged with a combined 53 felony counts of forgery, communications fraud and engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity. As part of a plea deal reached in August, a judge dismissed 38 of those charges at the request of prosecutors.

In 2012, Ashworth was named Coldwell Banker's top sales agent for its affiliate offices in Utah. He is also a recipient of the Uintah Basin Board of Realtors Presidential Award.

For more than a year, Ashworth has been the public face in the Uintah Basin of the Vernal Towne Center. The 26-acre retail project is being built by Gardner Development, the same firm behind The Gateway in Salt Lake City.

Court records, however, show the forgeries Ashworth committed were all related to residential properties. None of the homes have experienced problems with termites, and all have now undergone "appropriate termite treatment," according to Ashworth's attorney.

In addition to the jail sentence, Ashworth must serve three years' probation, complete 30 hours of community service, and pay restitution to his victims and a $1,500 fine.

Email: gliesik@deseretnews.com

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