JENSEN BEACH, FL – September 19, 2008 – (RealEstateRama) — A Florida mortgage broker and her husband, a pastor and popular radio show host, are facing numerous felony charges stemming from a state investigation that found the couple allegedly scammed consumers in a real estate investment scheme. Investigators said the couple has been enjoying expensive leased vehicles while sticking their “clients” with more than $1 million in mortgage debt.Shalonda McGill and her husband Rodney McGill were arrested today on charges of Racketeering, first degree; Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering, first degree; Grand Theft, first degree; Grand Theft, third degree; and Obtaining a Mortgage by False Representation, third degree. The Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) Division of Insurance Fraud and the Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) conducted the investigation.
“It appears that these individuals used their positions in the community to take advantage of people who trusted them,” said Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who oversees DFS. “The evidence our investigation uncovered indicates these two improved their own bottom line while financially devastating the Floridians they promised to help.”
The OFR is overseen by the Financial Services Commission, which includes the Governor, Attorney General, the Agricultural Commissioner and CFO Sink.
The McGills are being held in the Martin County Jail, with bond set for each at $1.4 million. Deputies with the Martin County Sheriff’s Department made the arrests during a traffic stop.
The McGills garnered clients through various programs including the Young Millionaire’s Group, Inc. (YMG); RSM Investment and Mortgage (RSM); and New Hope Outreach Center, Inc. (New Hope), all of which operated out of a facility located at 2110 Arch St. in Jensen Beach. Florida corporation documents identify Rodney McGill as president and Shalonda McGill as vice president of New Hope, which is incorporated as a non-profit church with the McGills listed as pastors.
The investigation found that Rodney McGill, as president of YMG, solicited listeners through a daily local radio program on WJFP Radio. He stated his purpose was to teach and mentor individuals on how to buy and sell real estate without any out-of-pocket expense, with the goal of earning $50,000 in 90 days.
In July 2006, investigators said, Rodney McGill solicited listeners of the radio show to call in and qualify, based on their credit, to become one of his “Fab 5.” Callers allegedly were assured that they would learn McGill’s real estate investing “cash-out technique.”
The McGills purchased real estate in Martin and St. Lucie counties, allegedly by preparing and submitting fraudulent loan applications, and then “flipped” the properties to the “Fab 5” for huge profits. Based on the fraudulent loan applications, four mortgages were obtained in excess of the property’s actual worth, and the McGills allegedly skimmed off the profits leaving three members of the “Fab 5” with more than $1.115 million in mortgage payments they were unable to make.
Investigators said all of the properties are either in or are facing foreclosure. The buyers all believed they were part of the “Fab 5” and were learning the McGill’s real estate investing techniques.
The investigation is ongoing into other real estate transactions in which the McGills were involved. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Ted Padich, (561) 837-5635, with the Division of Insurance Fraud, or Investigator Steve Brignola, (561) 837-5233, with the Office of Financial Regulation.
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. CFO Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.