Former Talk Host Found Guilty of Mortgage Fraud
October 27, 2014 at 2:58 AM (PT)
Former SYNDICATION ONE Talk Show Host WARREN BALLENTINE, who used to call himself "The People's Attorney" was convicted FRIDAY (10/24) by a federal grand jury in CHICAGO of assisting in bilking more than two dozen fraudulent mortgage lenders out of nearly $10 million, reports the CHICAGO TRIBUNE.
The jury deliberated about an hour before finding him guilty on all six counts of bank, mail, wire fraud, and making false statements to lenders. He was indicted in 2013, (NET NEWS, 1/29/13). The charges carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, but his sentence under federal guidelines could be far less. He remains free on bail with sentencing set for JANUARY 21st, 2015.
At it's peak, BALLENTINE's three-hour daily talk show was once carried in 37 media markets including CHICAGO.
Prosecutors alleged he acted as the real estate lawyer at closings involving nearly 30 fraudulent loans. They said he knew the buyers did not qualify to buy the homes in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. BALLENTINE's lawyer LEWIS MEYERS JR., vowed to appeal, "BALLENTINE was ignorant of the scheme and made only about a combined $8,000 for his work at closings while the real masterminds reaped millions. The people who concocted this scheme, they never talked to him, they never had a single conversation with him about it."
The trial had been delayed after his present lawyer had tried to pull out of the case at the last minute with claims that his client was not cooperating with him. BALLENTINE had told the U. S DISTRICT JUDGE MATTHEW KENNELLY he'd been suffering from depression and family health issues. He stated he had stopped returning his lawyers phone calls.