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P R E S S   R E L E A S E


June 9, 2011

Former Business Partners Plead Guilty to Racketeering for Fraudulently Profiting from the Sale of a Clayton County Home

Former business partners Melvin Hullett and Antonio Lewis pled guilty yesterday in DeKalb County Superior Court to Racketeering, O.C.G.A. 16-14-4(c), before Judge Courtney L. Johnson for their role in fraudulently profiting from the sale of a Clayton County home.

Hullett agreed to purchase the home of Lisa Conner, a real estate appraiser, for an inflated amount, and Conner allegedly forged a fraudulent appraisal to reflect the desired price of $450,000. Hullett applied for and obtained a loan from a mortgage company to purchase the residence at this inflated amount. In October 2004, he used the money obtained from the mortgage company to purchase the residence from Conner, and after the closing, Conner, Hullett, and Lewis split the proceeds from the sale between themselves.

Prior to the sale being finalized, Hullett applied for and obtained homeowner's insurance on the residence at the inflated value, falsely representing to the insurance company that he would occupy this property as his primary residence. In April 2005, someone deliberately set a fire to the home, causing significant property damage. Hullett subsequently made a claim for insurance proceeds with the insurance company for the policy limits, but the claim was denied based upon Hullett's misrepresentations in his application.

Hullett received a five year sentence, with the first six months to be spent incarcerated, followed by intensive probation. Lewis was sentenced to five years probation. Hullet and Lewis were ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $27,768.53, for which they are each jointly and severally liable. Charges against Conner are pending.

Assistant Attorney General Greg Lohmeier prosecuted Hullett and Lewis on behalf of the State of Georgia. The case was investigated by Battalion Chief Landry Merkison of Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services.

Source: Department of Law for the State of Georgia

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