Syndication One talker indicted in $10 million mortgage scam


Radio One“The Warren Ballentine Show,” syndicated in 37 markets via Radio One and Reach Media’s Syndication One, is one of the highest-rated urban talk shows in the nation. Based in Chicago and heard on Crawford Broadcasting’s WSRB-FM Soul 106.3 and on Clear Channel’s WVON-AM, Ballentine has been indicted for local real estate fraud.

He’s accused of helping unqualified buyers obtain mortgages by falsely stating in real estate closing documents that they intended to occupy the homes they were purchasing, according to the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.

A six-count grand jury indictment charges him with bank, mail and wire fraud and making false statements and seeks nearly $10 million in restitution. The charges claim he duped lenders by using false information to secure loans on more than two dozen homes.

Known as “The People’s Attorney,” 41-year-old lawyer hosts his weekday talk show from Durham, NC. He grew up on the South Side of Chicago and previously lived in south suburban Country Club Hills, where he maintains a law office.

According to the indictment, Ballentine conspired with others to buy homes with fraudulently obtained mortgages in Chicago and suburbs including Monee, Woodridge, Mokena, Country Club Hills, Richton Park, and Markham between 2004 and 2006.

Marty Raab, Reach Media SVP/Marketing, Communications, and Events tells RBR-TVBR: “We take the allegations against Warren Ballentine seriously. Warren is on leave to fully focus on the situation. Andre Eggletion hosted today’s show.”

Ballentine is due in court on 2/ 5. Though he could not be reached for comment, he has posted several notes on his Facebook page in recent days that appear to refer to his legal troubles, reported The Chicago Sun-Times.

“Now I know for sure they have a witch hunt out for me,” he wrote in one note. “This is about to be a fight for my life. They will try and take everything from me but I will find out who my true friends are who my brothers are and who really are truthfighters and in my corner I know I’m GOD’S child!!”

In another, he posted a link to a video called the “COINTELPRO: The FBI’s War on Black America.”

In a third, he wrote, “Love me when I don’t deserve it, because that’s when I really need it.”

If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

WVON PD Todd Ronczkowski told The Sun-Times he will continue to air Ballentine’s show in the 3 a.m.-6 a.m. slot as long as it remains in syndication.

See the Chicago Sun-Times story here.

RBR-TVBR observation: Kind of sounds similar to how lenders across the nation handed out mortgages like candy 7-8 years ago. Didn’t see too many of those folks indicted…but instead, were bailed out by taxpayers.