Former Senior Housing Developer Gets 15 Years in $130 Million Scheme

The former CEO of an Oregon-based senior housing development and management company has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, putting an end to what has been called the state’s largest fraud case ever.

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon on Tuesday sentenced former Sunwest Management Inc. CEO Jon Harder, 49, for bilking more than 1,000 investors out of $130 million between 2006 and 2008. Harder was indicted in 2012 and pleaded guilty in January to mail fraud and money laundering.

Prosecutors alleged Harder raised money from unsuspecting investors and banks beginning in 2006 amid the collapse of his chain of more than 300 assisted living communities serving roughly 15,000 residents throughout the U.S. He then went on a buying frenzy to hide company losses, acquiring more than 100 assisted living facilities at a rate of one per week, the Associated Press reported.

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Earlier this year, Harder admitted he had convinced investors to dole out $5 million under the pretense that the money would go toward specific facilities. Harder was also accused of using the money to fund a lavish lifestyle, including private jets, six homes and luxury vacations.

Sunwest underwent restructuring after Harder stepped aside in 2009. A private equity company purchased most of the holdings, and investors eventually got some money back, according to the AP. Sunwest officially shuttered its doors in 2010.

“I know I was reckless by growing so quickly, and in using other people’s money to do so, but I never intended to harm anyone,” Harder wrote in a letter to Judge Simon. “I wanted everyone connected with Sunwest to succeed.”

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Harder’s attorneys sought a five-year sentence in the case.

Written by Kourtney Liepelt

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