- Associated Press - Friday, May 27, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A man who owns apartment complexes in south-central Missouri has pleaded guilty to a federal charge stemming from an $18 million fraud scheme.

Federal prosecutors said in a release Friday that 74-year-old James J. Laughlin, of Waynesville, pleaded guilty Thursday to making false statements and reports on a loan application.

The prosecutor’s office says Laughlin admitted providing false information to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Administration in order to obtain a 2012 loan for $18.2 million. The loan was for the operation and maintenance of more than 200 Pulaski County apartments and complexes.

Prosecutors say the scheme involved artificially inflating occupancy levels in order to qualify for the FHA loan.

Laughlin has to forfeit $18.2 million and faces up to 30 years in prison.

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