Mortgage Fraud Investigation Underway

Lindsey Hunter: Double Dealer or Target?

Lindsey Hunter: Double Dealer or Target?

January 20, 2011 A school worker is stuck with bills for a million dollar house. The question is this… Is Detroit Piston veteran guard Lindsey Hunter a victim or perpetrator of mortgage fraud?

There are two investigations currently in play ~ one by the Wayne County Register of Deeds’ mortgage-fraud task force, and the other by the FBI. Each agency wants to determine which role Lindsey Hunter has in this drama.

At this point, Wayne County investigators consider the Pistons Veteran a victim ~ with someone else pulling the strings, serving as what they describe as “the mastermind.”

That’s Wayne County’s take. Then there’s the FBI who, according to sources, has Lindsey Hunter as their main focus as well as a leading participant in at least two possibly fraudulent deals that went out of kilter.

To Waterford Township resident Bruce McClellan, a boiler operator with the Pontiac Schools, there is no doubt about role that Lindsey Hunter plays in this drama ~ he is the dealmaker.

McClellan also said that he was a willing but naïve straw buyer in the purchase of a home in Bloomfield Hills for $1.25 million The buy took place in April one year ago and today the home is back on the market now for $780,000.

When McClellan took a look in life’s rearview mirror , he thought the process started when his near-perfect credit became known to his lifelong friend, Iron Johnson. Shortly thereafter Johnson sold McClellan a car at Golling Chrysler Jeep Dodge then approached him with a possible business deal which also involved his business partner, Lindsey Hunter.

Iron Johnson and Lindsey Hunter are principals in L&I Enterprises a Southfield-based limited liability corporation which they formed in 2006, according to the Michigan Department of Labor.

“They ran my credit through and were jumping up and down. They said ‘We’re going to make you a millionaire,’ and they’d get back to me. Two months later, they called and said, ‘We’ve got a great deal for you. Lindsey wants you to purchase a house for a friend.’ ” McClellan said they told him his name would be on the house for a month or so, and after it sold to the friend, he would get $300,000.

McClellan felt his dreams had been answered even though he was suspicious, but he thought the transaction was legal. He told Johnson and Hunter he made only about $35,000 a year and couldn’t afford an expensive house. He was assured that he had nothing a worry about. I was thinking that I’m working with Lindsey Hunter, he wouldn’t do me wrong.

Deano Ware an attorney for Hunter’s, issued this statement:
“While we are unable to comment on the specific facts involved in this matter because of the likelihood of potential litigation, Mr. Hunter emphatically denies any involvement in any wrongdoing on the part of other members of L&I Enterprises Inc.

“Mr. Hunter was strictly a silent partner of L&I Enterprises Inc. who relied upon representations made to him by individuals he believed in and trusted. He subsequently discovered the representations to be untrue. Immediately upon doing so, Mr. Hunter terminated any and all dealings he had with those individuals and L&I Enterprises Inc.

“Mr. Hunter is presently exploring any and all legal options available to him to defend his name and reputation against the allegations made against him including filing charges with the Wayne County Sheriffs Department.”

Here’s one in a set of questions that came up: how can a public school employee qualify for a loan to buy a million-dollar home? Why he had some help from his new friends of course.

According to a LaSalle Bank document, at the end of March, Lindsey and his wife, Ivy, added McClellan to a bank account they had. A dozen days later McClellan signed the loan-disclosure documents. His total monthly payments for the house that has a pool and overlooks Wabeek Lake totaled $11,505.62, which is about four times his monthly salary.

His pay-off is detailed in the file of papers turned over to the FBI. A handwritten note on the agreement, which McClellan said was added when he asked about his payment, reads: “Seller will receive no less than $300,000 at the sale of the property.” McClellan said he was told a month later that the would-be buyer had bought another house instead, but that other buyers had been lined up.

McClellan said he never occupied the Morningside Way house, and w when he’d drive by the house, Hunter’s car was often in the driveway. Not knowing where to turn, McClellan went to Smith, who contacted Ralph Roberts, a realtor who operates a Web site about mortgage fraud, Roberts in turn notified the FBI.

The McClellan deal wasn’t the only one. Anthony Barbour, owner of a Utica-based business, Fireside Heating & Cooling, is also cooperating with the FBI in another deal involving Hunter and Johnson. After Barbour closed on the house in Canton Township, Hunter filed a lien for $14,000 for unpaid closing costs.

Sandra Berchtold, media coordinator in the Detroit office of the FBI, said the agency’s policy is not to comment on ongoing investigations. However, sources not for attribution said the investigation is proceeding with Hunter as the target. The Wayne County investigation views Hunter’s involvement differently.

“We have an open investigation involving business dealings in which Lindsey Hunter appears to be the victim of some fraud,” said John Roach, the Sheriff’s Department public information officer. Wayne County sheriffs are assigned to the register of deeds’ taskforce.

Hunter’s two-year, $4.5 million contract expired last spring. He is a 15-year veteran of the NBA. He played 12 years with the Pistons, playing just 24 games last year. It is unknown if he will attempt to play another season.

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