WBLS/WLIB-A Brokered Show Host Charged With Bank Fraud
March 20, 2009 at 5:27 PM (PT)
A BRONX, NY real estate broker who hosted a brokered radio show on INNER CITY Urban AC WBLS and Gospel WLIB-A/NEW YORK inviting distressed homeowners to contact her for help was charged THURSDAY with ripping them off instead, reports THE DAILY NEWS. LAVETTE BILLS, head of MTC REAL ESTATE, was charged along with KIRK LACEY, a JAMAICAN who lives in FLORIDA, in a brazen $800,000 mortgage fraud scheme that allegedly preyed on people fearful of foreclosure.
In one case, BILLS, 36, persuaded a BRONX homeowner who had called the show for help to put BILLS' name on the deed to her house on Tinton Ave. by promising to get the homeowner a loan to pay off the $38,000 mortgage. BILLS sold the home to a straw buyer, according to the U.S. attorney's office and the FBI.
BILLS allegedly made $150,000 on the crooked deal, including taking a $50,000 broker's fee for the bogus sale. The homeowner, who just wanted to pay off the small mortgage, is now in foreclosure. Thanks to BILLS, the new mortgage on the house totals $337,500, prosecutors said.
BILLS and LACEY, 36, were each charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and face 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines. At an arraignment in federal court, BILLS was freed on $250,000 bond. LACEY was freed on $150,000 bond and was ordered to surrender his passport and handgun.