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Real Estate Developer Pleads Guilty to Fraud

March 8, 2013

An Albemarle County real estate developer has changed his plea to guilty on fraud charges.

Michael Wayne Harding entered the plea on Friday. He admitted he committed wire fraud and bankruptcy fraud.

Harding is the brother of Albemarle County Sheriff Chip Harding.

Michael Harding was looking to develop land near the Shadwell bridge inerchange on I-64 and another lot on 29 North.

The charges allege about $256,000 worth of loans for development were deposited into Harding's own account.

"Throughout this period of time, Mr. Harding essentially lived a lavish lifestyle and one he could not sustain with legitimate income," said U.S. Attorney Tim Heaphy. "A big house in Glenmore. He spent about $400,000 on race horses. A lot of his money went to casinos at the Greenbrier and at the Palms in Turks and Caicos."

As part of the plea deal the prosecution reduced the time Harding could serve, from 25 years to nearly five years in federal prison.

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