Fugitive developer may surrender

ASH FLAT, Ark. (AP) - An attorney says he's negotiating the possible surrender of a fugitive developer who allegedly walked away with thousands of dollars from investors. Larry Kissee told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Friday that he had talked to the Sharp County sheriff's office about Wayne Watkins' return from Mexico to face a theft of property charge.

Watkins collected downpayments from those who bought lots in Hardy. He had the investors sign installment land sales contracts, which allowed him to automatically withdraw monthly payments from their bank accounts.

Watkins used the land as collateral to take out $2.6 million in loans, but he defaulted on them. He and the money disappeared, along with any legal claim the buyers had to the land. Sgt. Mark Counts, with whom Kissee has been negotiating, couldn't be reached for comment. --- Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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