The Tears Are No Longer Ours
WE WILL NOT GO AWAY AND WE WILL NOT GIVE UP!
FATHER SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS IN PRISON, FOLLOWING EIGHT-YEAR TERMS IMPOSED ON SON AND DAUGHTER, FOR THEIR ROLES IN $10 MILLION AFFINITY FRAUD SCHEME THAT SWINDLED 2,000 VICTIMS CHICAGO
A Chicago man was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, after eight-year prison terms were imposed previously for his son and daughter, in connection with a massive “affinity” fraud scheme in which approximately 2,000 victims were swindled of approximately $10.7 million in losses.The father, Roy Fluker, Jr., 56, of Highland Park, who was arrested in Florida where he fled after failing to appear for sentencing last December, received the 15-year term late yesterday from U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman in Federal Court in Chicago.Fluker, his son, Roy Fluker, III, and his daughter, Ronnanita Fluker, were each convicted of multiple fraud counts following a trial in May 2010.Roy Fluker III, 31, of Walled Lake, Mich., was sentenced Aug. 16 to eight years in prison by Judge Feinerman, and Ronnanita Fluker, 34, of Highland Park, Mich., was sentenced to an eight-year prison term last December by U.S. District Judge David Coar, who presided at the trial.Both judges imposed $9 million preliminary forfeiture judgments against all three defendants and ordered payment of $7,336,957 in restitution.All three defendants participated in a scheme between 2005 and 2008 in which they fraudulently obtained approximately $18 million from victims, as well as some victims’ homes, through their operation of companies calledAll Things in Common, LLC, which did business asMore Than Enough, LLC andLocust International, LLC.The defendants marketed what they touted as an educational and financial program called the “Spend and Redeem Program.”They represented to participants in the program that in return for an investment of money, the participants would receive 25 percent of their total investment every month for 12 consecutive months — a 200 percent profit in one year.Defendants also marketed what purported to be a financial program called the “Housing Program,” which they claimed provided a way for people to reduce their mortgage payments and to own their homes clear of any mortgage within five years.The majority of victims were individuals whom Fluker and his children targeted at gatherings in Chicago area churches and hotels.Fluker and his children marketed their programs exclusively to the African-American community.The defendants made numerous misrepresentations and material omissions as part of the fraud scheme, resulting in obtaining more than $18 million from thousands of participants in the Spend and Redeem Program and from more than two dozen Housing Program participants in about only 18 months.They misappropriated much of the participants’ money and property for their own use, as well as to make Ponzi-type payments to earlier participants.By making these Ponzi-type payments, the Flukers kept participants from complaining to authorities and created the false impression that the programs were profitable, encouraging current participants to reinvest and others to make new investments, and to encourage Spend and Redeem Program participants to also participate in the Housing Program.Millions of dollars that were fraudulently obtained were paid back to certain investors, and losses totaled approximately $10 million when the scheme collapsed in 2006.After local banks froze multiple accounts the defendants used to commit the fraud, the Illinois Attorney General’s Office successfully recouped approximately $3.4 million for victims, resulting in a remaining loss today of more than $7.3 million.Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, announced the sentence today with Thomas P. Brady, Inspector-in-Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago, and Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen Heinze and Jessica Romero.
By Ryan Haggerty, Chicago Tribune reporter December 9, 2011
A federal jury convicted a veteran Chicago criminal-defense lawyer Thursday of taking part in a $9 million mortgage fraud scheme that took advantage of unqualified home buyers in economically depressed neighborhoods in the city.Charles Murphy, 65, was convicted of five counts of mail and wire fraud in U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman's courtroom in the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago.Murphy and three others allegedly acquired at least 40 residences — often homes in need of extensive repairs — and quickly resold them at inflated prices.Murphy, an attorney since 1974, and John Farano, 49, a lawyer from Palos Park, allegedly had financed the purchases. Robert Brunt, 45, and Tracey Scullark, 43, both of Chicago, allegedly recruited unqualified buyers by enticing them with false sales offers and promises of prompt repairs and renovations, according to court documents.Prosecutors alleged that Murphy and others urged buyers to sign closing documents they had never seen and falsely inflated the amount of money posted by buyers for down payments, making it more likely lenders would approve loans.The scheme allegedly took place from 2002 to 2006 and defrauded banks, mortgage lenders and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.Farano, Brunt and Scullark were each convicted Thursday of multiple counts, while another defendant, Douglas Blanchard, was acquitted on the lone mail fraud count he faced.Two others, Walter Jackson, 38, and Armani D'Aifallah, 40, both of Chicago, pleaded guilty in 2009 and testified for the prosecution at the trial, according to the U.S. attorney's office.Prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of at least $4.2 million from those convicted in the scheme.Also see: http://www.justice.gov/usao/iln/pr/chicago/2011/pr1208_02.pdf and
I find it truly sad and discouraging how many lawyers have turned out to be inefficient crooks. After all that money spent for law school and they learned nothing. Alright, enough of the comedy, it is time that a refresher course in ethics be a requirement every three years and that ALL attorneys must carry insurance.
CHICAGO—A former Chicago lawyer was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for engaging in mortgage and bankruptcy fraud schemes involving a so-called “mortgage bailout” program that purported to “rescue” financially distressed homeowners but instead tricked victims into relinquishing title to their homes and declaring bankruptcy. The defendant, Norton Helton, participated in at least 102 fraudulent mortgage bailout transactions and more than a dozen fraudulent bankruptcies in 2004 and 2005. He was ordered to pay more than $3.2 million in mandatory restitution to various lenders and financial institutions that were not repaid by the borrowers or fully recovered through subsequent foreclosure sales, federal law enforcement officials announced today.Helton, 50, of Atlanta and formerly of Chicago, was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan in federal court in Chicago. He was ordered to begin serving his sentence in June.Helton and two co-defendants, Charles White and Felicia Ford, were convicted of multiple fraud counts following a five-week trial in June and July 2010. White, 43, of Chicago, was sentenced late last year to more than 22 years in prison, while Ford, 39, of Chicago, is awaiting sentencing next month.White owned and operated Eyes Have Not Seen (EHNS), which purported to offer insolvent homeowners mortgage bailout services that would prevent them from losing their homes in foreclosure by selling their property to third-party investors for whom the defendants fraudulently obtained mortgage financing. The victim-clients were assured they could continue living in their homes rent and mortgage-free for a year while they attempted to eliminate their debt and repair their credit. EHNS misled clients concerning the operation of the purported program. In particular, victim-clients were not told that their homes were, in fact, being sold to third parties and that ENHS would strip their homes of any available equity at the time of sale, which EHNS did. Instead, ENHS clients were told that they were only temporarily transferring their homes and would preserve their ownership rights.Helton was recruited by White to represent ENHS participants at the real estate transactions it orchestrated. The victim-clients typically met Helton for the first time at the closings at which they sold their homes. Helton worked to placate individuals who questioned the program and to dissuade them from retaining independent legal advice. He received above-market legal fees for appearing at closings at which he did little more than guide victim-clients through the paperwork that sold their homes with EHNS receiving all of the profits from the sale. Helton further used the ENHS real estate closings to recruit prospective bankruptcy clients, informing them that bankruptcy would serve as a component of the bailout program. Helton subsequently filed more than a dozen bankruptcy petitions for victim-clients that omitted any reference to their recent EHNS property sales.In addition to participating in ENHS’s bailout program, Helton attempted to implement his own mortgage bailout program through Diamond Management of Chicago, Inc., a foreclosure avoidance company comparable to EHNS. Helton marketed Diamond’s bailout program and his bankruptcy services as part of a “credit repair” system.Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, announced the sentence today with Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Barry McLaughlin, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General in Chicago; and Thomas P. Brady, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago. The U.S. Trustee Program, a Justice Department component that oversees administration of bankruptcy cases and private trustees, also assisted in the investigation.The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joel Hammerman and Mark E. Schneider.The case is part of a continuing effort to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud in northern Illinois and nationwide under the umbrella of the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was established to lead an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. For more information on the task force, visit: www.StopFraud.gov.
By Keith L. Alexander and Ovetta Wiggins
Washington Post Staff Writers
Joy Jenise Jackson glided down the aisle of the Mayflower Hotel ballroom wearing her handmade oriental silk wedding gown and tiara with Swarovski crystal rhinestones. Trailing her was a 42-foot train, it, too, adorned with bling.
The June 2006 reception was equally glitzy, captured, like the wedding, on video. Patti LaBelle serenaded Jackson, 39, a former exotic dancer turned mortgage broker, and her groom, Kurt Fordham, 38. Later, the video shows the couple and their 360 guests sipping Cristal champagne and dining on lobster and shrimp fried rice, followed by four wedding cakes. As gifts, the couple gave one of their attendants a Porsche, another a house, and a third a $10,000 check, wedding guests said.
The price tag for the nuptials, Jackson told friends, was nearly $800,000.
It was a fairy tale wedding born of a booming real estate market. But even as Jackson was basking in her platinum wedding, her dreams and those of hundreds of homeowners in the Washington area were crumbling around them -- just like the market.
Investigators and attorneys say it appears that Jackson paid for her wedding and her lavish lifestyle, in part, with money from an elaborate foreclosure rescue business she operated out of her Lanham-based Metropolitan Money Store Corp.
Last month, a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of homeowners who say they have collectively lost as much as $60 million in home equity through her business.
"Joy Jackson concocted a scheme to defraud people," said Phillip Robinson, an attorney who filed the federal suit against Jackson, Fordham and 12 other defendants. "The sole motive seemed to be to enrich her lavish lifestyle. She took from people who were cash poor but were equity rich."
The red-hot real estate market of the past few years created billions in home equity for owners and opened up credit to those who thought they could never afford a home. But it also opened the door for foreclosure rescue operations, such as Metropolitan's, that require homeowners to turn over their deeds and, in effect, their equity to the lender.
Attorneys suing Jackson's company say as many as 400 homeowners lost at least $100,000 in equity. Some are now facing foreclosure.
Darrin Blackford, a spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service's Washington field office, said the agency is investigating Metropolitan for possible fraud, but he would comment no further. The FBI is also investigating the company, a law enforcement source said.
David Schickner, an investigator with the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, said the agency has been looking into Metropolitan since November 2006.
Jackson and Fordham did not respond to requests from The Washington Post for comment; they have moved out of their Fort Washington house, and efforts to locate them were not successful. Jackson's business partner, Jennifer McCall, did not return calls for comment, and a man who answered the door at her Lanham home said she would not comment.
A longtime friend of Jackson's, Earl Bannister Jr. defended her, saying she is guilty of nothing more than working hard and trying to help others.
"I know Joy's not like that. She will be vindicated," said Bannister, a Baltimore-based clothing designer who created Jackson's wedding gown and, earlier, her exotic dancing costumes. "Any money she got, she earned."
Chris Duncan, 25, a former Metropolitan employee from District Heights, said his boss started out with good intentions but got in over her head.
"She was an ex-stripper who became a millionaire," Duncan said. "She started overspending and tried to move money around, and it wasn't covering the spread."
Kevin Schwapp doesn't need much prodding to remember Jackson's tenure at his nightclub in Temple Hills.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation reports that Joy Jackson of Greenbelt, Maryland has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison and ordered to make restitution for nearly $17 million in losses created by a fraudulent scheme that she ran through her company, Metropolitan Money Store of Lanham, Maryland. According to the FBI report, Jackson took advantage of the current economic downturn to prey on desperate homeowners who had significant amounts of equity in their homes but lacked sufficient cash flow to make their monthly mortgage payments. Jackson’s company promised to help distressed homeowners avoid losing their homes to foreclosure and restore their impaired personal credit ratings. Homeowners were instructed to allow title to their homes to be transferred to third parties to allow Metropolitan Money Store to find more favorable mortgages and improve credit histories over a period of approximately one year. In reality, Jackson used the title transfer scheme to draw the equity out of the homes, obtain financing through fraudulent loan applications, charge large fees to the homeowners and transfer funds to bank accounts that made the money available for the personal use of Jackson and various people involved with her in the scheme. The FBI further reports that the funds obtained through this fraud were used by Jackson and others to finance kickbacks to a real estate closing agent, pay for air travel and jewelry and to cover gambling expenses. Perhaps the most brazen use of the funds occurred when Jackson siphoned off nearly $800,000 to pay for her wedding.
Joy Jenise Jackson, a former "exotic dancer" (stripper) who used the name "Night Rider" turned mortgage broker of Metropolitan Money Store apparently targeted and stole the homes of families who went to her for help in saving their precious properties. It has been reported that Ms. Jackson threw herself an $800,000 wedding with desperate, trusting homeowners’ money in the Maryland and Washington D.C. area. See MSNBC News at
UPDATE November 16, 2009
Joy Jackson of Greenbelt, Maryland has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison and ordered to make restitution for nearly $17 million dollars.
Never be afraid to turn in the con artist for they certainly are not afraid to steal your home while smiling in your face and partying with your hard earned money!
To read more about Joy Jackson and Metropolitan Money Store, see
Never be afraid to turn in the con artist for they certainly are not afraid to steal your home while smiling in your face and partying with your hard earned money!