Monday, March 28, 2016

Cops Pinch Indiana Man For Allegedly Using Forged Deeds To Transfer Title To Five Of His Unwitting Elderly Father's Rental Homes; Investigator: Dad Stated That Son "Has A Little Con In Him, & I'm Not Sure Where He Gets It"

In Anderson, Indiana, The Herald Bulletin reports:
  • The son of an Anderson businessman was arrested [] on suspicion he attempted to transfer Section 8 properties without the permission of his father, who has owned some of them for as long as 30 years.

    Madison County sheriff's deputies arrested Ben Thomas Jewell Jr., 54,[...], on preliminary charges of Class C felony forgery and Class D felony theft. He faces three counts for each charge.

    Ben T. Jewell Sr., who is believed to be in his 80s, also owns Tommy J’s Pizza, 1000 W. Third St., and Tommy J’s Pizza Café at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. The younger Jewell manages the restaurants.
    ***
    [A]ccording to an arrest warrant affidavit prepared by HUD Special Agent Jarred Burns, Jewell Sr. said to investigators, “Ben has a little con in him, and I’m not sure where he gets it.”

    At question are several properties owned by Jewell Sr. that an Anderson Police Department investigator and special agent with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General believe may have been transferred by Jewell Jr. to a third party without his father’s permission.

    According to the affidavit, the problem came to the HUD special agent's attention in October 2014 as he investigated alleged fraud involving one of the properties at 1025 Morton St., Anderson. The problem came to light because of a commercial fire claim made to Erie Insurance, the affidavit said.

    Though Jewell Sr. had submitted the claim on the property, an Erie Insurance investigator noticed the current owner of the property appeared to be Steve Wagner of Wagner Properties.

    Burns located five quitclaim deeds at the Madison County Recorder’s Office, showing each property was transferred for $12,500, the affidavit said.

    Mr. Jewell Sr. advised that none of the signatures on the Quit Claim Deeds were his. He said he never sold these properties to anyone, and doesn’t even know Steve Wagner,” the affidavit said.

    According to the affidavit, Jewell Jr. admitted during an interview with investigators on Feb. 6, 2015, he had signed the quitclaim deeds. Jewell Jr. said he transferred the properties in an effort to lower the assessed value based on a lower sales price.

    “He also admitted that while his Dad (Ben Jewell Sr.) has allowed him to sign numerous documents for him in the past, his father was not aware of the fact that he (Ben Jewell Jr.) signed the Quit Claim Deeds and transferred the properties to Steve Wagner of Wagner Properties,” the affidavit said. “Ben said his father would not have gone along with his plan of transferring the properties to Steve Wagner.”

    Jewell Sr. said he had asked his son to appeal the assessed values of the properties but never authorized any other action.

    “He said that Ben is not listed on any of his financial accounts and has no rights or authorizations to sell or transfer any of his property,” the affidavit said.

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