A Franklin County court granted an early prison release Friday, Nov. 22, to Daniel J. Nichter, a former Hilliard City Councilman and director of development for Franklin County.

A Franklin County court granted an early prison release Friday, Nov. 22, to Daniel J. Nichter, a former Hilliard City Councilman and director of development for Franklin County.

Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Kimberly Cocroft granted Nichter's motion for judicial release, a bailiff for Cocroft said Nov. 25.

Cocroft sentenced Nichter, 53, of Snowberry Lane in Hilliard, to a four-year term in prison after he pleaded guilty Nov. 17, 2011, to three counts of identity fraud, a second-degree felony.

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss 45 other charges against him that included multiple counts of forgery, theft, and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. He would had faced more than 50 years in prison had he been convicted at trial of all the charges.

Nichter had served 695 days, or just fewer than two years , of the four-year sentence at the time of his release.

Attorneys Bill Meeks and Dave Thomas represented Nichter in court Nov. 22, where victims asked for his continued incarceration.

Nichter was placed on probation for three years as part of his early release.

"Judicial release is intended to give the opportunity to first offenders of having a second chance, when they show remorse and right a wrong," Meeks said. "He adjusted to life in prison and was a model prisoner."

Meeks said arrangements were made prior to his release to make restitution of all the current claims against him.

Nichter paid restitution of $26,000 to PNC Bank, and $16,442 to two individuals, Meeks said.

Nichter could have been sentenced to as many as 24 years in prison, based on the three counts of identity fraud to which he pleaded guilty, but a pre-sentence report prepared by prosecutors and the defense recommended a four-year sentence.

Prosecutors said Nichter performed appraisals of central Ohio properties without a license. His license was revoked in March 2008 and his loan-originator's license was placed in escrow in June 2009, yet he performed appraisals under the names of licensed appraisers, without their knowledge in 2009 and 2010, and included false information that inflated property value.

Nichter, elected to Hilliard City Council in 2007, resigned in March 2010, after a 10-count indictment for passing bad checks in the amount of $26,000, a crime separate and apart from the mortgage frauds.

He was the Franklin County development director from 2000 to 2005.