Chattanooga real estate developer guilty on 29 counts

Chattanooga real estate developer guilty on 29 counts

July 22nd, 2011 by Todd South in News

Michael Anthony Dowlen

Local real estate developer Michael Anthony Dowlen faces sentencing on 29 of 33 criminal charges related to fraud, check kiting and scheming to defraud investors as he built the Amberbrook Gardens subdivision in Hixson.

A federal jury found Dowlen guilty Wednesday.

The most-recent indictment, filed in May, charged that Dowlen began to defraud Colony Limited Partnership in June 2007 and continued the scheme until September 2008. The partnership had given him money to develop property.

Dowlen practiced "check kiting," writing more than 50 checks ranging from $24,000 to $95,000 for a total of $1.9 million over the course of the scheme, according to court records.

He would write bad checks on an account at Northwest Georgia Bank in Rossville and deposit them into an account at Cornerstone Community Bank in Chattanooga.

When the insufficient funds notice occurred at Northwest, he would then write a check from the Chattanooga bank account to the Georgia bank, according to documents.

"The checks were written and deposited by (Dowlen) to manipulate the numerical balances in the checking accounts and thereby create the false and fraudulent appearance that the accounts had sufficient legitimate available funds," wrote assistant U.S. Attorney James Brooks.

Some of the money was spent for personal use when lenders at the partnership believed money lent was going to the residential home development Amberbrook Gardens, according to documents.

The jury found Dowlen guilty on the 29 bank fraud counts but not guilty of two counts of interstate transportation of fraudulently obtained money and two counts of criminally derived monetary transactions.

A sentencing date was unavailable in court filings.