Developer Sentenced to Six Years for Defrauding DTLA Investors

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A previously convicted real estate developer who induced victims to invest more than $1.5 million in a high-rise condominium complex in downtown Los Angeles that he falsely claimed to be developing was sentenced today to six years in federal prison.

Mark John Chandler, 57, was also ordered to pay $1.7 million in restitution and serve a three-year term of supervised release following prison, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Calling Chandler a “financial predator,'' U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson said the defendant had the ability to earn an honest living, but instead chose to “enrich himself at the expense of others.''

Chandler, who was extradited from Vancouver, B.C., to Los Angeles two years ago, pleaded guilty in October to a single wire fraud charge. He admitted that from December 2009 to October 2011, he operated a scheme to defraud victims who believed they were investing in a high-rise commercial and residential property at 850 S. Hill St.

In addition to soliciting cash, Chandler convinced victims to give him loans or obtain loans from others and give him the proceeds, and use their personally owned properties as collateral for loans he obtained, according to federal prosecutors.

The victims believed their investments would secure them an ownership interest in the Hill Street project and/or a condominium unit in the completed tower and that their investment would yield a high rate of return, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

To induce victims to give him money, Chandler falsely claimed that he had been working to buy the property for three years and had already invested $1.5 million toward the purchase. He also falsely claimed that the current owners of the Hill Street property had agreed to finance $3 million, that he had secured a $3.5 million loan from an associate, and that he possessed millions of dollars in the form of checks made payable to him, according to court papers.

In truth, he paid no money toward the purchase of the property, the property owner had not agreed to finance the purchase, Chandler's so-called associate had not agreed to loan the defendant money, and the checks shown to victims were phony.

In 2003, Chandler was convicted of a felony fraud charge in Arizona, and four years later was found to have defaulted on a $700,000 loan in Canada, federal prosecutors said. He also had about $35 million in assets frozen by a Canadian court in 2007 based on claims that he lied to investors and forged real estate documents, according to the 2014 grand jury indictment in the current case.

Photo: Getty Images

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content