What?! You mean this kind of thing is illegal fraud?! We're shocked!

In the mid-2000s, Hurd, attempting to cash in on the burgeoning real estate market, invented a "mousetrap" to circumvent lending rules and restrictions. His objective was to purchase a property and immediately resell it at a higher price for a quick profit without risking his own money, U.S. Attorney Thomas C. Ryan said in a sentencing memorandum filed in Hurd's case.

Hurd created a program called the Gift Program, which he marketed as a "seller-funded down payment assistance program," and used as a conduit to mislead banks into believing that his buyers were funding their own down payments on their loans, according to the memorandum.

"In reality, the lenders were not only funding their own down payment, but were providing the buyers the initial cash to make mortgage payments," Ryan said. "Michael Hurd thought he had the perfect mousetrap."

In 2006, Hurd, with the help of Putnam County real estate developers Todd and Deborah Joyce and Raymond P. Morris, the reported ringleader of the operation, flipped several properties using the Gift Program.

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