Friday, May 21, 2010

Well, this is odd.

The Clarke County, Iowa County Attorney was indicted for mortgage fraud on May 19, 2010. Ronald Wheeler is alleged to have acted as a "strawperson" in transactions involving Russell Blessman, who was also indicted. Clarke County is south of Des Moines, about halfway between Des Moines and the Missouri border.

The indictment alleges that Mr. Wheeler falsely claimed that he intended to reside in a house in Ankeny and obtained a $796,000 mortgage for the property, when in fact Mr. Blessman was going to reside there. He later obtained a $484,000 second mortgage for the same property, again claiming he lived in the property. Lenders give more favorable terms when the loan is for your residence as opposed to rental or investment property. And as discussed here, lying to lenders is illegal. The indictment further claims that Mr. Blessman paid Mr. Wheeler $29,000 for getting the mortgage for him. Apparently Mr. Blessman owned a company which bought and repaired properties.

Ok, now is where it gets odd. The indictment states that Mr. Wheeler claimed on his mortgage application that he made $360,000 per year and had $500,000 in his checking account in 2006. In 2008 he filed bankruptcy claiming $79,000 income and $1.2 million in debt from the above discussed property. Hmm...

And odder. Mr. Blessman is apparently already in federal prison. He was arrested in Utah for fleeing Iowa child abuse charges involving an eight year old girl. Uhhh....

And then odder still. According to the Des Moines Register, "Blessman was arrested in a Heber City motel after authorities found pornography and weapons in a room that had been visited frequently by children." Why in the world is there a Heber City motel room which was visited frequently by children, and nobody said anything until this guy was arrested? I don't even know what to say to that, except if you happen to see a motel room which is visited frequently by children, CALL THE POLICE. Seriously.

That was pretty odd, but then, the oddness continues. Again, according to the Des Moines Register, "A Utah official said in October 2007 that the 6-foot, 350-pound Blessman had been living in that state since June and had stayed, for a time, in a cave." So, he went from a million dollar plus house to a cave. In Utah. A. Cave. In. Utah.

Mr. Wheeler advised that he will be writing a letter to his local paper to explain his side of this odd story. Looking forward to that.