Jeffrey Barry, Houston Texas, formerly of Lansing, Michigan, has been charged with five counts of obtaining mortgage proceeds under false pretenses in a mortgage fraud scheme involving five fraudulent mortgages worth nearly a half-million dollars. He was arrested in Houston, Texas, and will be extradited to Michigan.
It is alleged that Barry would approach a homeowner at risk of losing their home to foreclosure, operating as a “mortgage foreclosure rescue” agent. Barry would offer to buy the home and sell it back to the homeowner under a land contract, thereby saving their home from foreclosure. However, the defendant would ‘fake’ the down payment by giving the homeowner a check but demanding it be returned almost immediately for various reasons, making the down payment an illusion. By using the “down payment” as proof of his financial investment in the property, Barry would obtain a mortgage from a bank under false pretense.
The five mortgages in question, worth a combined $451,707, were obtained between January 2005 and May 2005. As a result, Barry is charged with five counts of false pretenses over $20,000. Each count is a 10-year felony.
“Mortgage fraud is a serious threat to Michigan’s economy,” said Cox. “Crimes like these are a major contributor to the declining housing market that is ruining family finances.“
While the properties are located in Jackson, Haslett, Eaton Rapids, Durand and Battle Creek, Michigan, charges were filed in 65A District Court in St. Johns because closings for the sales took place in Clinton County. The Attorney General’s office and the Michigan State Police began investigating Barry after receiving a referral from the Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation.
“I would like to thank the Michigan State Police and the Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation aswe continue working together to tackle mortgage fraud in the State of Michigan,” said Cox.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the Defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.