SALT LAKE CITY — A Midvale man has pleaded guilty in federal court to falsifying documents to drive up home prices as part of a mortgage fraud scheme.

In a plea agreement, Christopher D. Hales, 30, admitted to one count of bank fraud in U.S. District Court last week. He initially faced 10 counts of mail, wire and bank fraud and money laundering. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss nine counts in exchange for the guilty plea.

Judge Ted Stewart will sentence Hales on Aug. 30. Prosecutors recommended Hales spend 90 months in prison.

Hales admitted that he enlisted others in 2005 to file an appraisal falsely valuing a Salt Lake house at $750,000. He then arranged to purchase the home through a straw buyer in order to keep the equity total of $172,000 for himself.

Cedar Hills Mayor Eric Richardson was linked to the other alleged financial scams involving Hales, according to court documents. Richardson has not been charged with a crime.

Dennis Romboy