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Man sentenced to probation in Arizona for role in complex real estate scam

Bradley Heinrichs recently pleaded guilty to attempted fraud for his role in a real estate scam that swindled money out of several investors.
Credit: news file

PHOENIX — A defendant who was part of a "Ponzi scheme" in Arizona will spend the next decade on probation after pleading guilty to attempted fraud, public records show.

Bradley Heinrichs, 41, was sentenced last week in Maricopa County Superior Court to spend the next 10 years on supervised probation for his role in a complex real estate scheme that solicited up to $82 million out of investors.

Most investors believed their investments were secured by deeds of trust in parcels of land but the investors’ security interests were illusory, according to the Arizona Attorney General's Office.

Heinrichs and another defendant, Stephen Hatch, were accused of using biblical quotes and religious references to gain the trust of investors.  

Starting in the mid-2000s, Hatch would buy parcels of land in Arizona and then promised big returns to individuals who invested in the properties. 

"Stephen Hatch is a con man who will spend the next five years behind bars for tricking Arizona families into investing in his Ponzi scheme,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said shortly after Hatch was sentenced in 2017. Hatch was released from prison last year.

Prosecutors say Heinrichs would regularly send investors an “Investment Summary” that showed ever-increasing interest earnings with no warnings there actually weren't enough funds to pay out those earnings. 

Heinrichs' attorneys have argued he was manipulated by Hatch to help perpetrate the scheme, according to court records obtained by the Arizona Republic.

Court records show Heinrichs pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted fraud, a Class 3 felony, and prosecutors agreed to dismiss several other charges.

Before pleading guilty last month in Arizona, Heinrichs was working as a real estate agent in Idaho, according to local newspapers.

A group of plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against Hatch and Heinrichs in Maricopa County a few years ago to recoup some of their losses. 

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