Developer who bilked condo buyers in Coachella resort scam gets 20 years in prison
A computer fraudster who bilked buyers at a luxury resort in Coachella to the tune of $2.4 million has a stern warning for anyone else who wants their money: “There are no refunds.”
In a new twist, this time he’s in prison. Michael Jeter, 58, pleaded guilty Tuesday in a federal court in Riverside County to one count of fraud.
Jeter’s sentencing is set for next month, but a judge could change it to probation, in which case he would get a prison term of one year and one day, or up to four years. Under either sentence, Jeter’s sentencing is capped at 30 months in prison.
The plea comes just days before federal prosecutors announced they will ask for up to 70 months in prison for an attorney who bilked investors in real estate fraud at a golf course, casino and resort in Palm Springs.
Jeter’s attorney, David Zwiebel, says it’s clear that neither sentence will be “appropriate.”
Jeter is the founder of Newell Partners Properties, an investment firm that owns and manages hundreds of rental homes and thousands of hotel rooms throughout Southern California, which he allegedly used for his scheme.
Prosecutors have said Jeter told victims that he had bought the Coachella condo in 2010 for $8 million, using a scheme he described as a “secret back door” to sell the home for more than twice that amount.
That secret door enabled Jeter to sell the Coachella property for an “exorbitant” $2.4 million or more, even though the town home’s owner had not yet been notified by any of the buyers or the seller.
Jeter also said he would invest any excess money in several different real estate investments.
Among them, he said, was a rental home in Palm Desert.
Last year, prosecutors uncovered the scheme at the Palm Springs resort and filed charges against Jeter, John Dickey,