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Former Riverside Developer Faces Federal Bank Fraud Charges

Bruce Hawkins, formerly of Algonquin, was charged with eight counts of bank fraud for his role in the collapse of the Riverside Square project in downtown Algonquin.

Bank fraud charges have been filed in federal court against the former developer of Riverside Square—a building project in downtown Algonquin that long stood vacant at Route 31 and Route 62, according to an Illinois Department of Justice press release. 

Bruce Hawkins, formerly of Algonquin, is accused of of defrauding Amcore Bank of more than $1 million and contributing to the collapse of the downtown Algonquin project, according to the DOJ press release. Hawkins is the former owner of Aspen Homebuilders, Inc., which went bankrupt in 2008. 

Hawkins was arrested Monday and appeared in federal court in Denver. He was ordered to appear for an arraignment at 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 27 in Chicago and released after posting a $25,000 unsecured bond. Hawkins is charged with eight counts of bank fraud.     

In September 2006, Hawkins obtained a $13.54 million commercial loan to finance the construction of Riverside Square at 1100 West Algonquin Road, according to the press release. 

According to the indictment, between January 2007 and June 2008, he also obtained over $1 million in loan proceeds from Amcore Bank by submitting false contractor statements, waiver of liens and contract invoices that were meant to be used for permits, construction work and consulting work for the development. 

"Hawkins submitted, and caused the submission of, false lien waivers and invoices for work performed to the title company, which was designated by Amcore Bank to keep and disburse funds for the project, the charges allege," according to the news release. "After these documents were submitted, the bank authorized the title company to disburse funds to Hawkins and the subcontractors."

The indictment seeks forfeiture of at least $1,017,183. Each count of bank fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, and restitution is mandatory, according to the news release. 

For years, the half-finished project sat vacant as the bank and the village battled in court. In March 2011, the current developer, John Breugelmans, bought the foreclosed property.

Now, Breugelmans plans to construct 63 luxury apartments, indoor parking and retail space at the ground level in the building, which is now called Riverside Plaza. 

Soonwinner November 21, 2012 at 04:12 AM
Criminal development developed by criminal acts.
Warren Cotton November 21, 2012 at 01:21 PM
No charges against the village board members who allowed it to be built in the first place?
Anthony P. November 21, 2012 at 05:11 PM
I wonder if those village board officials had anything to do with those permits and the false contractor invoices.
jeff November 21, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Their never going to be able to rent those out unless they give them away and you know what that means. Tear it down bad idea from the get go.
Soonwinner November 22, 2012 at 03:37 PM
There is a lot of loose change involved in this fraud. Given the unmarketability of the project nothing nefarious would surprise me. This is the kind of stuff that goes on in Chicago, were bad buildings are built, sometimes BEFORE the permits are issued, because the builder has the right connections. Just saying.

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