Developer of Highland luxury homes sentenced to federal prison

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WHITE PLAINS – The developer of Vineyard Commons, a luxury residential complex in Highland, was sentenced in federal court on Wednesday to three years and one month in prison.
Michael Barnett, 47, of Marlboro, pled guilty last January to conspiring to defraud lenders and make false statements to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The judge also ordered Barnett to forfeit $200,000 in ill-gotten gains and any interest in certain specified real property, and to pay $1,334,620 in restitution.
“Michael Barnett abused his position as the developer of Vineyard Commons to enrich himself and defraud HUD and his construction lender,” said US Attorney Preet Bharara.  
Two contractors – Robert Lees and Kevin DiCello – were willing to go along with Barnett’s demand for an $865,000 kickback so they could get more business from Barnett in the future said Bharara.
Lees, who was convicted in May, will be sentenced in December. DiCello, who pled guilty in April, will be sentenced next January.