Austin VanScoyk was given a prison sentence while his brother, Jonathan VanScoyk, was given two years on probation for the PPP wire fraud through Aston Homes.
Austin was sentenced to 10 months in prison while Jonathan got probation in conspiracy wire fraud case
By Jon Johnson
TUCSON – The long saga of local real estate business fraud has come to a close after the FBI-investigated case resulted in three convictions.
An accountant and two brothers who prosecutors say committed wire fraud regarding the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program have all been convicted and sentenced.
On Tuesday, Aston Homes owner Austin VanScoyk was sentenced in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona by Judge John C. Hinderaker to 10 months in prison to be followed by two years of standard probation for conspiracy to commit wire fraud – a Class-D Felony.
Austin’s brother, Jonathan VanScoyk, was sentenced to two years of standard probation by the same judge on the same day for the same charge.
Austin and Aston Homes’ accountant, Samuel Fielder, previously plead guilty on Dec. 3, 2020, in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona to conspiracy to commit wire fraud – a Class-D Felony. On July 12, 2021, Jonathan also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Fielder was sentenced in August to eight months in prison to be followed by two years of standard probation. He was also ordered to pay $638,000 in restitution.
On Tuesday, Austin VanScoyk was also ordered to pay $638,300 in restitution jointly with Fielder, with a payment of $325,000 that was due “immediately following the imposition of sentence”, according to the sentencing minutes. The remaining restitution will be required to have a $1,000 monthly payment.
Jonathan VanScoyk was not ordered any restitution but was given a $5,000 fine, due in monthly installments.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) executed a search warrant on the offices of Aston Homes at 625 W. Main St. in Downtown Safford on Sept. 11, 2020. During the search, boxes of potential evidence were seized.
According to the factual basis of the plea agreements, from about March 18, 2020, through Aug. 7, 2020, Austin VanScoyk and Fiedler – along with Austin’s brother, Jonathan VanScoyk, “conspired, confederated, and agreed to commit wire fraud by submitting fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications for four entities: Bright Edge, Yellow Turtle, Aston Homes, and Grand American.”
The fraud was committed to ensure loans to Bright Edge and Grand American Homes, according to court records. On April 26, 2020, a loan of $638,300 was issued to Bright Edge and on April 30, 2020, a loan of $549,830 was issued to Grand American Homes.
Jonathan VanScoyk owns Grand American and was operating on a limited basis. After the bank begin asking questions about the legitimacy of the Grand American Homes loan, JonathanVanScoykarranged for the loan proceeds to be returned.
According to the plea, Austin, Jonathan, and Fiedler claimed in a PPP application and other supporting documents that the four entities had between 36 and 171 employees and hundreds of thousands of dollars in monthly payroll, neither of which was true.
Fiedler then prepared and submitted fraudulent IRS tax forms and fraudulent payroll documents. The plea states Fiedler and Austin knew the documents were fraudulent and that Jonathan became aware that the application and supporting documents were fake and that all three took steps to convince non-employees to pretend to be employees of Bright Edge or Grand American Homes.