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Homebuilder Charged with Bank Fraud

ST. LOUIS (CN) - Federal prosecutors say a homebuilder defrauded banks, homebuyers and subcontractors of more than $10 million. Edward A. Levinson, 49, was indicted on 10 felony counts of bank fraud. The U.S. attorney said Levinson used down payments and earnest money that banks and buyers had given him for other projects, unrelated business expenses and overhead.

As a result, homebuyers closed on homes on which subcontractors later filed mechanics liens totaling $500,000, some homebuyers never closed on their homes and lost all of their down payments, prosecutors say.

Levinson operated a number of businesses, the U.S. Attorney said in announcing the indictment. Among them are Levinson Cos., Wynncrest, Terra Vista, Belle Maison,, and Levinson Building and Realty Corp.

Two of Levinson's developments were foreclosed on in October 2008, resulting in losses of $1.5 million to Royal Banks of Missouri, $1 million to Enterprises Bank, $300,000 to homebuyers and $500,000 in subcontractor liens, according to the complaint.

In December 2008, another Levinson development was foreclosed on, causing an $8 million loss on First Bank loans, a $241,000 loss to homebuyers and $1 million in subcontractor liens, according to the complaint.

In all of the foreclosures, Levinson had allegedly used bank loan money and home deposits for other purposes. Homebuyers allegedly failed to get completed homes and those who did not close on homes lost their deposits. Subcontractors who performed work were not paid and banks who loaned money for Levinson's construction projects lost the money, the government says.

If convicted, Levinson faces up to 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines on each of the 10 counts. Restitution would be mandatory.

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