BAM Key Details

  • Charles “Todd” Hill, former star of HGTV show Flip It to Win It, has been sentenced to four years in jail for real estate fraud and ordered to pay restitution amounting to nearly $10 million to his victims. 
  • Hill’s indictment includes 10 counts of grand theft of personal property, totaling roughly $950,000, three counts of embezzlement, and one count of diversion of construction funds (for personal use). 

A former HGTV star has been sentenced on multiple counts of real estate fraud

The accusations started between 2012 and 2014, right around the time Charles “Todd” Hill’s one-season show, Flip It To Win It, aired (in 2013). Apparently, the one thing Hill succeeded in building was a criminal record after stealing nearly $10 million from his victims. 

Turns out, Hill’s house-flipping show, while riding the wave of popularity in the early-to-mid-2010s, was an elaborate cover for massive real estate fraud. And on Tuesday, April 16, the Los Gatos, CA-based scammer was sentenced to four years in jail. 

The whole idea behind Flip It to Win It, as with any house-flipping reality TV show, was to show Hill and his team buying dilapidated houses, turning them into dream homes, and selling them for a profit. 

From the “About the Show” page on HGTV: 

From the steps of the courthouse to the “oohs” and “aahs” of an open house, five teams of expert flippers bid against each other for abandoned houses sight unseen. It’s a high-stakes hour in which three auctions are won, three houses are renovated and then all three houses go on the market for top dollar. Which team took the biggest risk, worked the hardest and overcame the biggest challenges? Find out on Flip It to Win It.”

Behind the scenes, though, Hill was pilfering money right, left, and center to finance his own luxe lifestyle, leading him right back to those courthouse steps. 

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement: 

“Some see the huge amount of money in Silicon Valley real estate as a business opportunity. Others, unfortunately, see it as a criminal opportunity—and we will hold those people strictly accountable.”

Hill’s indictment & conviction

Hill was convicted last year on multiple counts of fraud, including some scams he pulled before his show started. One of those, according to a press release from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, was a Ponzi scheme with evidence Hill had laundered and spent money on a rented apartment in San Francisco, as well as hotels, vacations, and luxury cars. 

After the D.A.’s investigation, Hill was indicted in November 2019. In September 2023, he admitted his guilt and was convicted of grand theft against his (several) victims. 

His indictment includes—

  • 10 counts of grand theft of personal property, with the total exceeding $950,000
  • three counts of embezzlement
  • one count of diversion of construction funds 

Per the district attorney’s office: 

“To hide the theft, he created false balance sheets and got loans using fraudulent information.” 

Hill also diverted construction money for his own personal use. 

But one of his most egregious violations involved an investor who had given Hill $250,000 to remodel a property. During a tour of the home, after Hill had supposedly fixed it, the investor “found it to be a burnt-down shell with no work done on it.” 

Aside from the four-year jail sentence, Hill will have to pay restitution amounting to more than $9.4 million to his victims and to serve 10 years on probation. Some of those victims, who spoke at last Tuesday’s hearing, said they’re still dealing with the financial and professional damage resulting from Hill’s fraud. 

Fortune.com originally featured this story, with no comments from either Hill, who could not be reached, or HGTV, which did not respond to Fortune’s request. Yahoo! Finance shared the details in a press release on April 19, 2024.