Teacher Pleads Guilty in House-Flipping Operation

Teacher Pleads Guilty in House-Flipping Operation

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Debbie Dujanovic Reporting
Produced by Kelly Just
It's a multi-million mortgage fraud case in Utah County that's getting a lot of attention; not only for what happened, but because of who's involved.

Teacher Pleads Guilty in House-Flipping Operation

Now there's been another plea in court, and this time it's from a school teacher.

The school teacher is the latest person to enter a guilty plea in abeyance for his part in the house-flipping operation.

Verrell Clark Blaisdell retired in June from the Alpine School District, and his license is under investigation by the State Office of Education.

He's agreed to testify against the alleged ringleader of the mortgage scheme, Brad Kitchen. In exchange, Blaisdell gets a small fine and three years probation.

Utah County prosecutors also cut deals last week with Orem resident Mark Atkin and KUTV sports anchor Dave Fox in this same case.

Teacher Pleads Guilty in House-Flipping Operation

The three men falsified loan documents so they could make money on the quick resale of homes.

On Sept. 25, Joe Christensen, with the Utah Insurance Fraud Division, said, "This is called house-flipping or churning because, in each instance, the mortgage company is being fed erroneous information that the value of the property is worth far more than what the market value is."

Dave Fox
Dave Fox

Meanwhile, this mortgage fraud case is affecting an entire community. It's being blamed for driving up home prices in the Riverbottoms area of Provo.

The Utah County Assessor's Office is warning 350 homeowners that they live in an area with a "high volume of potentially fraudulent real estate transactions," something that may have inflated their property taxes.

The county will reassess those homes and give owners a chance to appeal those taxes.

We tried to contact Blaisdell's attorney and haven't heard back. There are more charges expected in this case.

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