HGTV Star Sentenced to Jail Time for $10M Fraud

By: Alyssa Miller | Published: Apr 28, 2024

After convicting him of real estate fraud, the court sentenced a former reality TV star of “Flip It to Win It” to four years in jail and ordered him to pay $9.4 million in restitution fees.

The 58-year-old Charles “Todd” Hill, who starred in the renovation competition series, will remain in jail while he pays back all of his victims.

The Multiple Fraud Scheme

Prosecutors said Hill, residing in Los Gatos, admitted to “grand theft against all victims” and acknowledged the aggravated white-collar enhancements, leading to his indictment in 2019 for committing “multiple fraud schemes” the previous September.

A person holding open an empty wallet

Source: Pixabay

The Daily Beast reported that Hill, convicted last fall of real estate and financial fraud, will have to pay back 11 victims. He will serve four years in jail and receive a 10-year probation sentence.

Which Show Did Hill Host? 

According to HGTV’s website, “Flip It to Win It” was “a high-stakes hour” in which “expert flippers bid against each other for abandoned houses sight unseen” and work to bring them to market.

The cast of Flip It To Win It inside of a house under renovation

Source: Flip It To Win It/Facebook

The Mercury News described Hill, also known as “Mr. Flip It” on the show, as “a hard-charging and charismatic developer.”

Hill Denies Taking the Money

Hill denied the allegations that he pocketed the money. This caused his former reality TV partner to denounce him and end their relationship.

Charles 'Todd' Hill standing in front of several expensive race cars

Source: Flip It To Win It/Facebook

According to the press release announcing his sentencing, Hill “spent millions on over-budget remodels, laundered profits, and pocketed millions in fraudulently obtained money.”

Hill Used “Flip It to Win It” Money to Fund His Life

Hill used investor money to buy run-down homes, fix them up, and sell them for a profit, and he was found guilty.

A person fans out one hundred dollar bills in their hands.

Source: Alexander Mils/Unsplash

However, if the business model lost money, he would use the money for his personal lifestyle and cover the losses of the fraudulent accounting practice, according to the prosecutor’s allegations.

The Initial Investigation

In 2019, the DA’s office indicted Hill after investigating multiple fraud schemes. The prosecutors alleged that the scams occurred before the show.

Photo of Man Wearing Beige Trench Coat

Source: cottonbro studio/Pexels

Evidence showed that Hill spent laundered money on rented San Francisco apartments, hotels, vacations, and luxury cars.


An Aggravated White-Collar Crime

“There are allegations that he took more than $200,000 from each of four victims,” Christine Garcia-Sen, then the Santa Clara district attorney, said after his arrest.

A close-up of a key in the lock of a door.

Source: PhotoMIX Company/Pexels

Garcia-Sen continued: “So, there is an aggravated white-collar crime enhancement that basically means there is a pattern of crime involving the taking of more than $500,000.”


Hill’s Layered Scheme

Garcia-Sen states that Hill had “a business where he was buying homes and hiring contractors to fix them up for profit” that lasted between March 2013 and July 2014.

Two people looking over paperwork with their laptops

Source: Unsplash

“He started losing money and began manipulating the books to make them appear profitable. Then, he created a new company and transferred assets from the other company to attract new investors,” she said, according to The Mercury News.


Hill Also Had a Ponzi Scheme

Hill also created at least one Ponzi scheme, in which he took “an investor’s money budgeted to buy homes and, instead, used it to live lavishly.”

A person handing another a ten-dollar bill.

Source: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

Mr. Flip It was able to hide the theft by creating false balance sheets and obtaining loans using fraudulent information.


Hill Took $250,000 Instead of Remodeling a House

Another investor toured a home for which he had given Mr. Flip It $250,000 to remodel, and found that the house had been gutted with no work done to it, prosecutors said.

A close-up of many American dollar bills.

Source: Mackenzie Marco/Unsplash

Some of the victims who spoke at Hill’s sentencing said they were still suffering from the financial burden and damages caused by his fraud, according to the DA’s office.


An Investor Speaks Out

Hill’s former top investor sued him, accusing Hill of swindling him out of money meant for renovations.

A judge's gavel rests on its sounding block on a wooden surface, with a person in the background


Max Keech said that he had funded more than 90 percent of Hill’s flipping endeavors, according to his civil suit. However, Hill took “money for work that was never performed,” fixed the books, and pocketed the profits.


HGTV Has Not Responded

“The show’s concept was that he bought dilapidated homes, fixed them up, and then sold them for a profit. Instead, Hill spent millions on over-budget remodels, laundered profits, and pocketed millions in fraudulently obtained money,” the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office wrote.

Source: HGTV/YouTube

HGTV has not spoken to any news outlets regarding Hill’s sentencing. Additionally, there has been no discussion on how to prevent any crimes like this from happening in the future.