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Former HGTV star from Los Gatos sentenced in $10M real estate fraud case

PIX Now - Morning Edition 4/16/24
PIX Now - Morning Edition 4/16/24 11:12

LOS GATOS – A Los Gatos man who starred in a real estate reality show was sentenced to jail and ordered to pay back nearly $10 million to his victims after being convicted of real estate fraud, prosecutors said Tuesday.

According to Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen's office, 58-year-old Charles "Todd" Hill received a four-year sentence. Hill starred in the HGTV show "Flip It to Win It", which featured teams buying dilapidated homes and fixing them, before selling them for a profit.

The show aired in 2014.

Prosecutors said Hill was convicted in Sep. 2023 after admitting to grand theft with aggravated white-collar enhancements for committing real estate and financial fraud against 11 victims. Hill was indicted in 2019 following an investigation by the DA's office.

"Some see the huge amount of money in Silicon Valley real estate as a business opportunity," Rosen said in a statement. "Others, unfortunately, see it as a criminal opportunity – and we will hold those people strictly accountable."

According to the DA's office, Hill engaged in "multiple fraud schemes", with some scams dating back before the HGTV show.

Prosecutors said in one instance, he diverted construction money for his personal use. In another, Hill created a Ponzi scheme by taking money intended to buy homes from an investor and spending it on a lavish lifestyle instead. He hid the theft by creating false balance sheets and used fraudulent information to obtain loans, according to prosecutors.

In a third case, prosecutors said an investor who provided $250,000 to remodel a home toured the property, only finding it to be a "burnt down shell" with no work performed.

Hill had used the money on a rented apartment in San Francisco along with spending on hotels, vacations and luxury cars, prosecutors said.

In addition to jail time, Hill was ordered to pay back $9,402,678.43 in restitution and serve 10 years probation. Hill has been remanded into custody, the DA's office announced.

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