Darrell Cooper, who until a year ago was one of Bangor’s top real estate developers, pleaded guilty Thursday to federal fraud charges committed when he ran government-subsidized housing.
Cooper, nearing the end of a six-month federal sentence for attempted bank fraud, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Portland to making false statements on government loan programs and to stealing government funds.
When he is sentenced, which is not likely to occur before February, Cooper faces a maximum term of 40 years in prison and fines of up to $1.2 million for both charges.
The 56-year-old former developer admitted to overstating the balances of various real estate and tax escrow accounts, security deposit accounts, and replacement reserve accounts he managed, owned, or in which he invested, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office Thursday.
The false statements were made in documents submitted to the Farmers Home Administration, which provides loans for rural rental housing projects.
Cooper also pleaded guilty to stealing $2,640 in rental funds from the Maliseet Gardens complex in Bangor, which is operated under the supervision of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.
According to court documents, Cooper negotiated a rental check from Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. last July. Although he had been replaced as property manager after questions were raised about funds missing from property-tax accounts, the check was sent mistakenly to his firm, P.I. Realty.
Cooper then endorsed the check “Maliseet Gardens” and deposited the check proceeds into a personal bank account, according to assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Murphy.
Cooper, who is scheduled to complete his current sentence next month, also faces state criminal charges that he embezzled $60,000 from a local doctor and his wife.
In addition, Cooper is defending himself against five civil lawsuits pending in Penobscot County Superior Court. The lawsuits, filed by a host of former business partners, claim that Cooper also mismanaged property funds.