18 Months Probation for Condo Fraud

One of the Marquette businessmen in the Hawks Ridge condominium fraud case is avoiding jail time even after a guilty plea.

43-year-old Michael Gokey will spend a year and a half on probation.

He’ll also have to pay $15,000 restitution.

That’s a 1/5th share of the $75,000 that Eleanor Kovach of Gwinn invested in 2007 for a condo that has never been built.

And it may not be all he has to pay.

Circuit Judge Thomas Solka says just last night, he learned that others involved in the case are also seeking to obtain restitution from Gokey.

Those others are 3 former co-defendants in the case — Brian Swift, Chad LaVallie and Ryan Bruns.

Their charges were later dropped.

Now they’re seeking more than $140,000 from Gokey.

Judge Solka says a hearing on that restitution will be held at a later, undetermined date.

This is Gokey’s first criminal offense.

He’s agreed to testify against the last remaining defendant, Joel Westrom.

Westrom is slated to go to trial in June.