A south suburban attorney and national radio host who bills himself as the "people's attorney" has been charged in a $10 million mortgage fraud scheme, federal officials announced today.
Warren Ballentine was indicted last week by a federal grand jury for defrauding lenders by scheming with others to obtain nearly 30 bogus mortgage loans, according to the U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago.
Ballentine is listed on WSRB 106.3 FM's Web site as being on the air Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. He also is listed WVON Radio's web site as hosting a show from 3 to 6 a.m. Monday through Friday. His own Website describes him as "The People's Attorney" and listed the name on his email address as "truthfighters."
On his Facebook fan page, Ballentine today said that he is "INNOCENT."
"For the record I'm innocent," Ballentine said on the Facebook page. "I made a standard fee on closings. In Illinois a buyers attorney doesn't handle any of the documents till closing so as this proceed u will see that I'm in this because I have a name. No big payday no knowledge of the paperwork. I know some may say everybody says their innocent. Well Iam if u ever bought a house how much you pay ur lawyer 500 bucks at the most what lawyer would be part of a scheme and make a standard fee? INNOCENT."
According to prosecutors, Ballentine helped obtain nearly 30 mortgages in which buyers were fraudulently qualified for loans based on false documents. The schemes took place between December 2004 and May 2006, authorities alleged.
Ballentine, 41, who currently lives in Durham, N.C. , formerly resided in Country Club Hills, where he still keeps a law office.
He is scheduled to appear at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse on Feb. 5 on six counts of bank fraud, false statements and mail and wire fraud.
Ballentine could not be immediately reached for comment.