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Third Indianapolis Land Bank fraud suspect pleads guilty

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A third person has pleaded guilty in connection to the alleged 2013 fraud scheme inside the Indianapolis Land Bank program.

Court records obtained by I-Team 8 show 59-year-old Randall K. Sargent pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to one count of wire fraud and one count of bribery.

Sargent, President of the non-profit New Day Residential Development, was accused of giving kickbacks to Land Bank employees in exchange for steep discounts on city owned properties included in the Land Bank, according to court documents. The Land Bank is used to acquire vacant and tax-delinquent properties and sell them to both non-profit and for-profit real estate developers.

But, prosecutors say Sargent was part of a scheme to turn the program into a cash cow for those running it. A federal indictment alleges former Lank Bank director Reginald Walton and Land Bank employee John Hawkins accepted bribes and kickbacks to facilitate fraudulent property sales under the program.

Hawkins and Aaron Reid of the for-profit Naptown Housing Group also reached deals with prosecutors to plead guilty. No sentencing dates have been set in any of the cases.

Walton and Executive Director of the nonprofit Indianapolis Minority Aids Coalition David Johnson still face 10 total counts of wire fraud and bribery, court records show. Their trials are scheduled to begin on March 3.