Ex-IU hoops player Leary avoids prison time in fraud

Former Indiana University basketball player Todd Leary has avoided prison time for his role in an ex-business partner's multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme.

An Allen County judge on Monday sentenced Leary to two years of work release or home detention followed by two years on probation.

The Journal Gazette reported that could change since Leary faces unrelated charges in Hamilton County that he stole high-end appliances from foreclosed homes in the Noblesville area.

Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull on Monday accepted Leary's July guilty plea to misappropriating title insurance escrow funds. Leary agreed with prosecutors to pay nearly $295,000 in restitution.

Prosecutors say Leary worked for Joseph Garretson, a title insurance broker who pleaded guilty in a major mortgage fraud case. Garretson, who operated Fort Wayne Title and Fort Wayne Mortgage, was sentenced in late June to 11 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to three counts of breaking the state loan-brokering law. He was also fined  $5,000 and ordered him to repay his victims $3.4 million

Investigators found more than a dozen cases in which Garretson refinanced mortgages for clients but didn't pay off the original loans, causing them to default.

Leary was a star at Lawrence North High School and played for the Hoosiers in 1989-94, including their 1992 NCAA Final Four team. He was an analyst for IU's radio broadcasts when he was arrested in February.

On Sept. 2, a Hamilton County judge entered a not guilty plea for Leary on burglary and theft charges. Leary, who lives in Carmel, was arrested following a five-month investigation.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Leary paid two other men to move refrigerators and other appliances out of foreclosed homes and then sold them to an Indianapolis appliance store. When investigators questioned Leary, he allegedly told them that he worked for a company that bought, repaired and then resold foreclosed homes. Leary told police that he picked the homes off an auction listing on the Hamilton County sheriff's website. But the sheriff's department denied ever selling any homes to any such company or to Leary, and the homes that were burglarized were tracked to other owners.

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