IBJNews

Developer loses fraud appeal

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A former Indianapolis real estate developer has lost an appeal challenging his conviction that he committed fraud on a financial institution.

A three-judge panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals on Wednesday affirmed Christopher White’s 2009 conviction resulting from a $500,000 bad check he wrote as he tried to save his real estate development firm, Premier Properties USA Inc.

A Marion Superior Court judge sentenced White to one year on home detention and three years of probation, and also ordered him to pay $382,486 in restitution to The National Bank of Indianapolis.

On appeal, White claimed his counsel was ineffective at trial and that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction.

The appellate judges, however, affirmed the jury’s guilty verdict.

White’s conviction on the fraud charge stemmed from a $500,000 check he wrote in 2008 to make payroll, as financial and legal troubles mounted on the company he founded. The check, deposited to an account at NBI, was drawn on an account at Chase with a balance of less than $1,000.

White argued on appeal that he had previously transferred money or made deposits to cover overdrafts, and this instance was no different. But an NBI executive testified that the transfer was unusual because the bad check had been presented from another bank, Chase, for deposit at NBI.

“White ordered the issuance of a check that he knew had virtually no value for deposit with NBI, waited until the payroll had been paid, and then informed NBI that the check would be dishonored,” Appellate Judge Ezra Friedlander wrote. “The evidence is sufficient to support White’s conviction for fraud on a financial institution.”

White also argued on appeal that his trial counsel was ineffective because it should have called an NBI employee who handled his personal and business accounts as a witness.

But the trial court found that her testimony at a previous hearing would not have altered the outcome of the trial.

White’s Premier Properties developed the Metropolis shopping center in Plainfield.

Premier built a reputation for taking on daring projects with little margin for error, but when credit markets tightened, troubles quickly mounted. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2008. A month later, a judge converted the case to Chapter 7 and ordered the company to be liquidated.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Where are all the other convictions?
    What about all the bankers who screwed the whole economy buying assets on paper for which they didn't actually have any money? When will they be charged?
  • Just Another Failed Appeal
    What can I say? Just another failed appeal from a conviction that was not going to be reversed.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. By Mr. Lee's own admission, he basically ran pro-bono ads on the billboard. Paying advertisers didn't want ads on a controversial, ugly billboard that turned off customers. At least one of Mr. Lee's free advertisers dropped out early because they found that Mr. Lee's advertising was having negative impact. So Mr. Lee is disingenous to say the city now owes him for lost revenue. Mr. Lee quickly realized his monstrosity had a dim future and is trying to get the city to bail him out. And that's why the billboard came down so quickly.

  2. Merchants Square is back. The small strip center to the south of 116th is 100% leased, McAlister’s is doing well in the outlot building. The former O’Charleys is leased but is going through permitting with the State and the town of Carmel. Mac Grill is closing all of their Indy locations (not just Merchants) and this will allow for a new restaurant concept to backfill both of their locations. As for the north side of 116th a new dinner movie theater and brewery is under construction to fill most of the vacancy left by Hobby Lobby and Old Navy.

  3. Yes it does have an ethics commission which enforce the law which prohibits 12 specific items. google it

  4. Thanks for reading and replying. If you want to see the differentiation for research, speaking and consulting, check out the spreadsheet I linked to at the bottom of the post; it is broken out exactly that way. I can only include so much detail in a blog post before it becomes something other than a blog post.

  5. 1. There is no allegation of corruption, Marty, to imply otherwise if false. 2. Is the "State Rule" a law? I suspect not. 3. Is Mr. Woodruff obligated via an employment agreement (contractual obligation) to not work with the engineering firm? 4. In many states a right to earn a living will trump non-competes and other contractual obligations, does Mr. Woodruff's personal right to earn a living trump any contractual obligations that might or might not be out there. 5. Lawyers in state government routinely go work for law firms they were formally working with in their regulatory actions. You can see a steady stream to firms like B&D from state government. It would be interesting for IBJ to do a review of current lawyers and find out how their past decisions affected the law firms clients. Since there is a buffer between regulated company and the regulator working for a law firm technically is not in violation of ethics but you have to wonder if decisions were made in favor of certain firms and quid pro quo jobs resulted. Start with the DOI in this review. Very interesting.

ADVERTISEMENT