Vernal real estate broker gets jail time for forging termite records
VERNAL — An award-winning real estate broker has been sentenced for forging federal termite inspection records and other mortgage documents.
On Tuesday, 8th District Judge Clark McClellan sentenced Kyle David Ashworth to serve 14 concurrent terms of up to five years in prison for his convictions on eight counts of forgery and six counts of communications fraud. The charges are all third-degree felonies.
McClellan then suspended the prison sentences. He ordered Ashworth to serve one month in the Uintah County Jail before Dec. 31.
Ashworth, 31, forged the signatures of developers Scott Gardner and Rulon Gardner, as well as the signature of the owner of Omega Pest Control on documents that were sent to mortgage lenders to obtain loans for prospective buyers, according to court records filed as part of his guilty plea.
The forgeries took place between February 2011 and September 2012, according to Vernal police who investigated the case along with the inspector general's office for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Ashworth was initially charged with a combined 53 felony counts of forgery, communications fraud and engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity. As part of a plea deal reached in August, a judge dismissed 38 of those charges at the request of prosecutors.
In 2012, Ashworth was named Coldwell Banker's top sales agent for its affiliate offices in Utah. He is also a recipient of the Uintah Basin Board of Realtors Presidential Award.
For more than a year, Ashworth has been the public face in the Uintah Basin of the Vernal Towne Center. The 26-acre retail project is being built by Gardner Development, the same firm behind The Gateway in Salt Lake City.
Court records, however, show the forgeries Ashworth committed were all related to residential properties. None of the homes have experienced problems with termites, and all have now undergone "appropriate termite treatment," according to Ashworth's attorney.
In addition to the jail sentence, Ashworth must serve three years' probation, complete 30 hours of community service, and pay restitution to his victims and a $1,500 fine.
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