Hastings businessman Jim Hoffman, who has been under investigation by federal authorities since 2008 on suspicion of mortgage fraud, will finally get his day in court.
A federal indictment made public Tuesday in St. Paul charged Hoffman and his wife, Teresa, in a wide-ranging conspiracy that the government said cost lenders across the country about $5 million on properties purchased with bogus financial documents in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Peter Wold, Jim Hoffman's attorney, said Tuesday that his client believes he did nothing illegal and "he is anxious to defend himself."
"I've been representing Jim in this investigation for, it must be three years now," Wold said. "Jim has maintained his innocence .... He was involved in selling properties. It all had value, and people got the value they bargained for when they got it."
Attorney William Mauzy, who represents Teresa Hoffman, said she never engaged in any fraudulent activity, nor does she believe that her husband of 27 years committed fraud in his businesses.
The indictment, handed up late Monday, alleges that the Hoffmans, either separately or together, owned and controlled business entities that they used to carry out the alleged fraud, including Home Funding Corp., Accredited Financial Services, Encore Acquisitions, Bessford Partnership and GRD Property Management.
Minnesota One Mortgage Inc. of Maplewood brokered the loans on the deals. Its former owner, Chad Wegscheider, 37, formerly of White Bear Lake, was charged in August with conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud involving the conversion of apartment buildings into condominiums.
Wegscheider, the Hoffmans and others allegedly conspired in a scheme to enter into purchase agreements for apartment buildings in Minnesota and Wisconsin that would be converted into condos. They allegedly paid for buildings by tricking mortgage companies into lending money to unqualified borrowers whom they'd recruited in advance and who agreed to buy condos at inflated prices.
Authorities say the scheme, from June 2006 to 2008, created a pool of funds to pay for the buildings.
The indictment against the Hoffmans alleges that they also bilked lenders on a series of mortgages involving their primary residence, a million-dollar home on Neal Avenue in Hastings, and a vacation property on Spicer Lake.
The FBI accused them in an affidavit of selling dozens of condos in Rochester, Sauk Rapids and Spicer "at substantial profit" to a handful of buyers who never intended to live there and never had to pay for the units.
Dan Browning • 612-673-4493