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New trial for Ohio homebuilder in fraud case

CINCINNATI (AP) -- An appeals panel ordered a new trial Tuesday for an Ohio homebuilder convicted in a $3.5 million mortgage scheme in the Cincinnati area.

Bernard Kurlemann's conviction on charges of making false statements was reversed by a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. The court upheld other Kurlemann's other convictions involving bankruptcy fraud.

Kurlemann, of Mason, is serving four years in prison stemming from his 2010 convictions.

Prosecutors say the luxury-homes builder submitted false information on loan documents regarding down payments that were never made. They say that enabled Kurlemann to walk away from $3.5 million in mortgage debt.

The court says Kurlemann's actions may not amount to lying, but rather concealment.

The court also ordered a new sentencing hearing for another man convicted in the case, Eric Duke.

Duke, who was the key witness against Kurlemann and pleaded guilty to get a lighter sentence, is serving a five-year sentence. The court ruled that the sentence might be too long.