From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
BIRMINGHAM – A federal judge sentenced a Jefferson County man for engaging in a wire fraud scheme, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr.
U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre sentenced JEFFREY RUSERT, 52, to 41 months in prison for embezzlement of over $1.3 million from his customers. Rusert pleaded guilty in June 2019. He was sentenced on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Rusert was the owner and president of Southern Craftsman Custom Homes, Inc. Southern Craftsman was engaged in the business of residential homebuilding. Between 2016 and 2018, Rusert engaged in a fraudulent scheme to obtain money from at least 16 known individuals and/or families. Rusert solicited individuals and families to sign a contract and pay money to Southern Craftsman for the construction of a custom home. Rusert accepted the checks and down payments from numerous individuals and families and fraudulently used the proceeds on unrelated construction projects, outstanding debt and personal expenses. In addition to obtaining personal checks from the victims, Rusert assisted individuals and families with obtaining a loan to finance the construction of their custom home. After obtaining financing, Rusert, submitted false and fraudulent invoices and documentation to financial institutions for the purpose of obtaining checks or draws from the construction loans purportedly to pay for materials, labor and expenses associated with a particular home under construction. Rusert failed to use and apply the money obtained from the financial institutions towards the construction of the customer’s home project.
In addition to the term of imprisonment imposed, Rusert was ordered to serve three years of supervised release.
The FBI investigated the case with assistance from the Alabama Home Builders Licensure Board, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin Beardsley Mark is prosecuted.