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Developers Matthews, Brannan appeal convictions in downtown Peoria hotel fraud case

Jeffrey Smudde

Developers Gary Matthews and Monte Brannan are appealing their federal convictions on mail fraud and money laundering charges.

The two men were convicted this month of defrauding investors who put millions of dollars into the renovation of the Pere Marquette and construction of the Marriott by Courtyard hotels in downtown Peoria. Those investors included the city of Peoria, which failed to recoup $7 million loaned to the pair when the hotels were ultimately sold off to the project's largest investor.

U.S. Chief District Court Judge Sara Darrow on April 15 sentenced 81-year-old Matthews to 3 years and 4 months in prison. Brannon, 71, was sentenced to two years.

The two men also were ordered to pay several million dollars in restitution to their victims — Matthews must pay back $8.2 million, while Brannan must jointly repay $4.7 million. At least 50% of their monthly disposable income will go toward repayment upon their release.

Darrow said she would ask the Bureau of Prisons to allow the two men to serve out their time at the federal prison in Pekin, but she made no guarantees.

Matthews filed his notice of appeal on April 20. Brannan filed on April 22.

Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.