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Owner of a former apartment building in Little Rock enters a guilty plea to a $54.7 million fraud conspiracy



Little Rock, Arkansas – On June 17, the former owner of Big Country Chateau, a struggling apartment complex in Little Rock, entered a guilty plea to charges of participating in a large-scale, multi-year conspiracy to obtain loans totaling over $54.7 million through deception and to purchase multifamily and commercial properties.

In a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, 53-year-old Aron Puretz and his Apex Equity Group acknowledged participating in a plot to inflate the value of the Colonel Glenn complex and other properties.

Big Country Chateau was used by Puretz as part of his plan, but the flats fell into serious disrepair. Since then, the City of Little Rock has been working to move renters out after the property was placed into receivership by a judge.

Under a false identity, Puretz and his accomplices purchased Big Country Chateau in July 2019. Puretz utilized the identity of an accomplice rather than his own because he knew the lender, Freddie Mac, would not approve him as an owner, according to the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey.

Officials claim that Puretz concealed from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and other federal and state organizations his ownership of the property management company and his involvement in it.

Puretz’s mortgage fraud scheme, according to court filings, began in 2016. It involved supplying fake purchase and sale contracts in Lakewood, New Jersey, and making up representations to the City of Eureka, Illinois, in order to be granted a property tax exemption.

Puretz entered a guilty plea to a single charge of conspiring to defraud a financial institution through wire fraud. He will be given a sentence on October 30, 2024, and the longest term possible would be five years in jail.

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