Alaskan Real Estate Developer Sentenced for Defrauding Lender

Allison Tussey —  February 5, 2013 — Leave a comment

Lee E. Baker, Jr., 57, Anchorage, Alaska, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline, to 36 months in prison for making false statements to a credit union.

Baker made false statements to Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union (DAFCU) while drawing down the proceeds of a $9.2 million construction loan obtained for a proposed 85 unit apartment project, “Bryn Mawr,” Northern Lights Boulevard, Anchorage, Alaska. Baker, as president of Discovery Construction Inc., submitted 12 draw requests certifying each time that certain work had been completed on the Bryn Mawr project, when actually, very little work had been done and the total amount Baker verified as completed was false. The Bryn Mawr project was never completed. As a result of his false statements, approximately $4.3 million was disbursed to Baker by DAFCU before he defaulted on the loan.

Judge Beistline, after imposing sentence, stated, “Ultimately the success of the banking industry and the construction industry depends on integrity.” Judge Beistline went on to acknowledge that the construction industry in Alaska faces challenges, but insisted that, “when facing challenges, the highroad must be taken.” He further indicated that fundamental principles of honesty and integrity are necessary to deal with problems before others get hurt and that the community cannot tolerate this kind of deception. Giving Discovery Construction credit for work completed on the Byrn Mawr project, Baker was ordered to pay $3 million in restitution.

U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced the sentence.

United States Attorney Karen Loeffler noted, “Financial crimes such as those committed by Baker create significant and lasting harms on the community as well as the businesses affected. The Alaska federal law enforcement community is dedicated to working together to investigate and prosecute these serious crimes.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Mary Rook stated, “The FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to address significant financial crimes which impact a wide range of individuals, businesses, and industries. As is frequently the case, the impact of this crime was more widespread than just those immediately identified as victims, as the losses sustained by Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union were also felt by its members.”

Ms. Loeffler commends the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division for the investigation of this case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Retta Randall prosecuted the case.

Allison Tussey

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