Priest Arrested In $2.4 Million Real Estate Scheme

This post was written by jd on December 11, 2010
Posted Under: Real Estate

According to the Chicago Tribune “A Michigan man who defrauded real estate developers and churches of more than $2.7 million while presenting himself as a priest associated with the University of Notre Dame has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Byron “Father Barney” Canada, 62, of Berrien Springs, Mich., was sentenced Thursday in federal court in South Bend, the South Bend Tribune reported. Canada pleaded guilty in March to 24 counts including wire fraud, money laundering and criminal conspiracy.

Canada ran two lending corporations based in South Bend and through them bilked borrowers between 2004 and 2009, according to court documents.

Canada collected upfront fees from borrowers including real estate developers, commercial developers and other businesses as well as churches seeking to pay for building projects, court documents said.

He kept the fees, which ranged from $5,000 to $250,000, as advance payments for loans that his companies were incapable of financing, court documents said.”

Amazing how someone representing themselves as a part of a church can swindle money.  I had a client several years ago who told me he was going to come into a large sum of money soon. I was building his home at the time and he kept telling me that he would soon have me building commercial buildings for him because he was soon going to come into a huge amount of money.  Later, he asked me if I was interested in making a lot of money?  I asked him how. He said all I had to do was give the “church member” $7,500 and get two other people to each invest $7,500 also.

I said wait a minute, this a Ponzi scheme.  He did not believe me until I did an Excel chart for him, showing him that if everyone invested in his “church member’s” scheme, we would soon run out of people on earth to keep this “investment” going. After I showed him what was happening, I never heard about how much money he was going to make again! I’d always wondered how much money he lost.

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