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Wayne Watkins arrested in Texas

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A nearly four year search for fugitive local land developer Wayne Watkins has finally come to an end, following his arrest, Feb. 21, in Harris County, Texas.

Watkins has been on the Sharp County's most wanted list since charges were filed against him for felony theft by receiving in 2007.

According to a report from Sharp County Sheriff Mark Counts, the Sharp County Sheriff's Office was contacted by the Harris County Sheriff's Office on Feb. 21, informing him they had taken Watkins into custody on the Sharp County warrant.

Watkins was held on the charge and appeared before a judge the same day for an extradition hearing. He then waived his right to challenge extradition.

Counts said the Sheriff's Department is sending Chief Deputy David Huffmaster to Texas to transport Watkins back to the county.

Watkins allegedly defrauded over 50 victims, some from out of state, in a real estate scam, then borrowed $2.6 million against the property and went into default on the loan.

Most of the victims of the scam made reports to the Attorney General's office.

In 2008, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel sued Watkins and his business partners, alleging they violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act by engaging in a deceptive scheme to defraud banks and the persons purchasing the land.

The scheme was discovered by one family when it found its land for sale on the Internet after paying monthly installments of $116, totalling over $8,000 at the time.

Watkins was known for collecting money in the form of down payments for land on the Spring River Beach Club in Hardy.

By requiring those purchasing the land to sign installment contracts, Watkins was able to automatically withdraw funds from the accounts of purchases.

Several families filed complaints with the Arkansas Real Estate Commission (AREC) in hopes of recovering some of their money.

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Hopefully, he will never see the light of day once convicted. He's hurt so many people, maybe he won't spend his $$$ on attorney's fee's or appeals, and have some left for distribution to families he's defrauded. www.village2ya.com

-- Posted by CVInternetForum on Wed, Feb 23, 2011, at 12:27 PM

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