Thursday, June 10, 2010

State Bar Boots Lawyer For Role In Combined Straw Buyer/Flipping, Rent Skimming Racket Targeting Novice Investors, Would-Be Buyers In Rent-To-Own Scam

In Providence, Rhode Island, The Providence Journal reports:
  • Attorney Jon A. Mills, of Lincoln, has been disbarred by the Rhode Island Supreme Court. The court released an order [] authorizing the disbarment after Mills agreed to voluntarily give up his law license and cooperate with authorities in the prosecution of a wide-ranging $16-million mortgage-fraud case.

  • He was charged last year in Superior Court in connection with a wide-ranging $16-million mortgage-fraud case, a scheme that involved defrauding six banks, 25 investors, dozens of renters, and involved 73 properties.(1) Court records show that Mills, 61, [...] pleaded no contest on April 12 to aiding and abetting in obtaining money under false pretenses. He was given a deferred five-year sentence, which essentially means he is on probation for five years, said Attorney General spokeswoman Beryl Kenyon.

For the story, see Lincoln lawyer disbarred in mortgage-fraud case.

(1) An earlier story (see Two enter pleas in mortgage fraud case) reported the racket, allegedly headed by accused mastermind Pierre “Peter” Chabot, 75, of North Providence, as follows:

  • The state police say the complex plan began five years ago, when Chabot placed newspaper advertisements inviting people to invest with him and make money. He attracted 25 amateur investors to fund $16.7 million into 73 rental properties, the state police say, and told them that their money would be protected by a lease-purchase agreement that renters would sign. The renters would use their lease payments as part of the down payments.

  • However, the state police allege that Chabot was buying the properties for less than he told the investors and was pocketing the difference. Although Chabot was supposed to be making the mortgage payments on behalf of the investors, the state police say that he failed to make payments on most of the loans. The banks foreclosed, the investors lost their money, and the renters ended up without homes.