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Jax Daily Record Friday, Apr. 2, 202109:10 AM EST

Ponte Vedra man sentenced to federal prison

Former real estate broker Robert Hendricks pleaded guilty in September to wire fraud.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Robert Hendricks, a former real estate broker in Ponte Vedra, was sentenced April 1 to six years and six months in federal prison for wire fraud.

Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan also entered a money judgment of $2,682,924.34, the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct and ordered Hendricks to pay $3,879.881.34 in restitution.

Hendricks, 64, pleaded guilty on Sept. 28.

Principal of Crown Commercial Real Estate Inc., he was licensed by the state in 1984. His real estate license was revoked in June 2019 after he was indicted on 12 counts of wire fraud.

According to court documents, Hendricks told two of his victims, a husband and wife who were his longtime friends, that he had been successful with commercial property development and needed money for another commercial property deal in Central Florida.

In October 2014, the husband paid Hendricks $300,000 as an investment in two commercial property ventures. Hendricks never used the funds for an investment. Instead, he used the money for his personal benefit.

On March 21, 2016, Hendricks received a wire of $200,000 from another victim, who also was a friend. Hendricks told that victim that Wawa, a chain of convenience stores and gas stations, was establishing locations in Jacksonville and offered the victim a deal for four to five stores.

The victim believed that three of the five locations were completed based, in part, on a contract Hendricks provided referencing a Wawa at St. Johns Town Center.

However, the store had already been built at the time of the investment.

On April 18, 2016, Hendricks received a wire of $490,000 from a lender for a property he obtained from a longtime friend through misrepresentations. The victim had agreed to temporarily transfer the property to Hendricks to enable him to pay for cleanup and obtain special insurance, but Hendricks did not need to pay for any cleanup and no special insurance was required.

Instead, after the property was in Hendricks’ name, he mortgaged it for his benefit and failed to repay that loan. The lender then foreclosed the property and took title after an auction.

On Feb. 13, 2017, Hendricks received a wire of $388,962.17 from a victim for another purported commercial property venture. Hendricks falsely claimed he had an interest in a corporation that owned a Home Depot store and the victim could invest in it.

However, the money went to a corporation Hendricks had created solely to further his scheme, and Hendricks did not own any interest in the unrelated entity that owned the store.

The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley Washington.

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