Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ongoing Probe Turns Up The Heat On Two Phoenix Cops Accused Of Ripping Off Homeowners Using Fraudulent Sale Leaseback Scam

In Phoenix, Arizona, KPHO-TV Channel 5 reports:

  • For the past seven years, Tim and Ellie Gray have been forced to live with their parents. They are the latest victims to come forward claiming they were scammed by two Phoenix police lieutenants, Lee Brent Shaw and Mark Tallman. "They took our house, you know? They took our home. They were just lying to us all the way through and it's a big vicious scam. This in particular, because they were able to hide behind their badges," said Tim Gray.

  • The Grays were facing foreclosure, so they signed a "quit claim" deed that they thought would keep them in their home. It's supposed to allow the Grays to repurchase their home over time. But after Better Choice Investments, run by Tallman and Shaw, took control of the Gray's property, the company didn't make the mortgage payments as promised. The Grays said Lt. Shaw even threatened them with eviction and jail time when they complained.

  • They said Shaw said, "Get the (expletive) out of my house. It's my house now, not yours." Without warning, the Grays were suddenly being evicted. They were given only 15 minutes to grab what they could. "I got out with a pair of shoes and a bag of clothes," said Ellie Gray.

  • The Grays showed CBS5 pictures of all of their belongings simply thrown about in the backyard and stacked haphazardly in the carport as Better Choice Investments gutted the home. In three days, they say Better Choice Investments destroyed or stole everything they owned. "Even our car. Our car was in the driveway. We lost everything," said Ellie Gray.

  • Lts. Tallman and Shaw are currently facing civil punishment from the attorney general, and sources close to the investigation told CBS5 News the two will soon face new internal allegations of public corruption fraud and racketeering.

  • "They need to be fired, first of all. They should not be police," said Ellie Gray. "It scares me because people are able to do it behind a badge. That makes me really scared. And I haven't talked about it to anybody until now," said Tim Gray.

  • Lieutenants Tallman and Shaw are not currently facing any criminal charges, but the internal allegations include committing fraud against at least nine other officers who lost thousands as investors. If the allegations stick, the lieutenants will most likely lose their jobs. That investigation will be concluded after the attorney general gets a turn at them. That process should take about a month.

Source: Two Phoenix Cops Accused Of Fraud, Racketeering (Lieutenants Lee Brent Shaw And Mark Tallman Face Multiple Investigations).

See also, The Arizona Republic: Phoenix lieutenants face probe over real-estate business (Two Phoenix police lieutenants are under investigation after residents complained that some of the 120 real-estate purchases conducted by their off-duty business were unethical or illegal).

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