Missouri developer must pay millions to victims

ST. LOUIS | An eastern Missouri real estate developer convicted of mail and bank fraud has been ordered to pay $34 million in restitution to more than 100 people.

The order is part of the sentence imposed Thursday in federal court on 47-year-old Robert Hartmann of O'Fallon. He was also sentenced to two years in prison.

Hartmann's real estate business collapsed in 2005, leaving investors and banks with St. Louis-area properties that never got redeveloped or went into foreclosure.

Prosecutors said Hartmann claimed he would help one woman keep her home but merely increased the loans on the property. Hartmann had the woman make payments to him in a rent-to-own arrangement. But she was forced to leave the home anyway because he stopped putting the money toward her mortgage.