Myers Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering, Perjury

Remember the case of Hot Springs developer Rodney Myers, who was facing a 22-count federal indictment over his failed development, Burchwood Harbour Apartments?

Well, he recently pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Hot Springs to three counts involving skimming, money laundering and perjury. As part of the plea agreement, the other charges will be dismissed after he is sentenced.

Myers' attorney, Q. Byrum Hurst of Hot Springs, said a sentencing date has not been set. Myers could face up to 10 years in prison on the money laundering. The other two counts have a maximum sentence of 5 years each and fines for all three could be up to $250,000 each.

Hurst said Myers decided to take the plea agreement because "the problem you get into in business-related offenses is quite often it's hard to tell when someone has intentionally violated the law or whether they have been negligent or careless and simply caused a violation in that way.... Sometimes there is a little gray area in business offenses, more so than in crimes of violence."

In its indictment, the U.S. Attorney's Office accused Myers of participating in a scheme to defraud the U.S. Depart-ment of Housing & Urban Develop-ment and the bankruptcy court.

The indictment, issued in March 2004, alleged Myers took nearly $90,000 between 1998 and 2000 from the HUD-financed apartments in Hot Springs and funneled it into other accounts he controlled.

"It was a lengthy investigation.... So we're very pleased that Mr. Myers has pled guilty, and we look forward to the sentencing hearing whenever it's set," said U.S. Attorney Bill Cromwell of Fort Smith.