Dover developer pleads not guilty to fraud charge

By Randall Chase, The Associated Pr 8:59am, February 21, 2013 - Updated 3:59pm, February 21, 2013
A prominent Dover developer has pleaded not guilty in federal court to charges of bank fraud and conspiracy.

A lawyer for 55-year-old Michael Zimmerman entered a plea of not guilty Thursday during a brief arraignment before a federal magistrate.

Zimmerman, who did not speak at the hearing, is charged with conspiracy, money laundering and making false statements to a financial institution.

Prosecutors allege he obtained more than $37 million in financing from Wilmington Trust for three projects, then diverted construction loans for unauthorized purposes.

Zimmerman attorney Dan Lyons has said Wilmington Trust was not the victim of any fraud but instead engaged in sloppy accounting practices.

Prosecutors claim Wilmington Trust, which sold the debt related to the Zimmerman projects in 2011, incurred a loss of more than $26 million.

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