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Real-Estate Investor Convicted Of Federal Fraud, Conspiracy Charges

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GREENVILLE, N.C. — A real-estate investor who U.S. attorneys said scammed people out of tens of thousands of dollars was found guilty Thursday of conspiracy, fraud and making false statements.

Prosecutors said that Jim Davis, through his companies Easy Financial Services and Eagle Investment Group, and builder David Layton orchestrated elaborate pyramid-like schemes where people -- investors, sellers, buyers, renters and homebuilders -- who bought in to the so-called development either lost money, had their credit ruined or both.

From a financial standpoint, prosecutors said, Davis was a "danger to the community."

In one scheme, authorities said Davis convinced builders and an appraiser to inflate home prices so that the builder received the full asking price and Davis received the extra money. For example, he allegedly sold a house in Garner for $46,000 above market value. Investigators said he kept $32,000 of that.

Other schemes involved "investors" who bought those houses. Authorities said Davis promised them he would find renters, who would then pay Davis thousands of dollars that were supposed to go toward mortgages. But the deals fell apart for everyone involved when Davis kept the money, instead.

Davis, who will be sentenced in November, could face as much as 75 years in prison.

Layton pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiracy charges and testified against Davis. His sentencing is set for September.

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