Friday, April 26, 2013

Midwest Real Estate Operator Cops Bank Fraud Plea In Scheme That Duped Investors Into Straw Buyer Scam To Peddle, Finance 'Contract For Deed' Racket Targeting Wanna-Be Homeowners With Crappy Credit

In Springfield, Missouri, KY3-TV reports:

  • A co-owner and president of a closed real estate company that defrauded dozens of residents of new homes pleaded guilty in federal court for bank fraud on Thursday. Under terms of a plea agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office, Scott Dasal of Springfield likely will get a three-year federal prison sentence.

    On Tuesday (postponed from Friday morning), Dasal is scheduled to appear in Greene County Circuit Court to plead guilty to state charges resulting from a grand jury indictment in February 2011.

    Dasal was a co-owner of Greenleaf Companies and its subsidiaries, including The Real Estate Company. From 2006 through May 2008, the companies advertised heavily in southwest Missouri that they could get people with bad credit records into new homes.

    They also sponsored seminars for potential investors in which company officers outlined a scheme for people to invest in mortgages on homes that would be occupied by other people.

    Investigators say the scheme was fraudulent and deceived a bank that held the mortgages by disguising the source of the money paid to the bank. It turned out that people moved into Greenleaf’s homes and thought that they were mortgage holders. The residents later found out differently when they started getting foreclosure and eviction letters from the bank.

    Investigators said Greenleaf took the residents’ payments but didn’t always pay the bank. The mortgages were actually held by investors that Greenleaf drew into its scheme.
  • People who moved into Greenleaf's homes and thought they were making mortgage payments likely will get no restitution from Dasal and his companies, at least from the federal court plea agreement, which only relates to defrauding the bank, not the homes' residents. They might get some restitution from the state cases against Greenleaf and its officers.

    The Greene County grand jury indicted Dasal on 19 charges: 10 charges of fraud and nine charges of unlawful merchandising practices. In the 26 months since then, the case was proceeding towards a two-week trial that was postponed a couple times but was then set to begin this week, according to online court records. Last week, that trial was canceled and a plea hearing was scheduled for Friday morning at 8:30 before Greene County Circuit Judge Dan Conklin. On Friday, that hearing was postponed for three days.

    When Dasal was indicted, the grand jury also indicted four other people with similar charges. They are Eric Gagnepain of Springfield, a former part-owner of Greenleaf; Misty Perkins of Highlandville, former director of Investor Relations for Greenleaf; William Strong of Springfield, former vice president of finance and daily operations for Greenleaf, and Robert Batchman, former real estate broker for The Real Estate Company.

    Gagnepain pleaded guilty to the state charges in March 2012 but has not been sentenced because he subsequently filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea.

    A Greene County judge convicted Strong last August and sentenced him to five years of probation, and ordered him to pay $25,000 in restitution; less than $1,000 of that restitution has been paid.

    Perkins is scheduled for trial in August.
For the story, see Co-owner of Greenleaf real estate firm pleads guilty to bank fraud (Scott Dasal also apparently plans to plead guilty to some state charges).

Go here for earlier posts on the Greenleaf Companies straw buyer / 'contract for deed' racket.

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