Related post: Banks loaned nearly $40 million to Evans
Did a huge case of mortgage fraud take place in Madison County? Mississippi Valley Title and its parent company, Old Republic National Title Insurance Company, filed suit within the last several weeks in Madison County Chancery Court against Jackson attorney Charles Evans, Jr. and his brother, Jon C. Evans, alleging fraud.
JJ is reviewing court documents as well as conducting its own investigation about this potential scandal. Charles Evans, Jr. is an attorney who was certified by Mississippi Valley Title Insurance Company to provide title certificates for real estate insured by MVT. Jon Evans controlled or owned 25 companies (most of them were LLC's. See note below). These companies bought properties in Madison County and obtained multiple mortgages for each property. The mortgages ranged from approximately $300,000 to nearly $1.5 million apiece. Charles Evans apparently issued the title certificates for these properties.
Mortgages were obtained from many Mississippi banks by the Defendants. National banks such as JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and others (except for Regions) were avoided. Cedar Lake Investors alone obtained sixteen mortgages for only a few properties of prime real estate in Madison (it owned a tract on the corner of Hwy 463 and Highland Colony Parkway for example) from Bancorp South, Bankfirst, Bankplus, Britton & Koontz, Citizens National Bank of Meridian, Community Bank, Consumer National Bank, First Bank (McComb), Merchants & Farmers, Madison County Bank, National Bank of Commerce, Omnibank, Regions, and State Bank & Trust. The total amount issued for just Cedar Lake was $9,976,192.
A review of only a few other deeds of trust for other properties showed mortgages issued by Bank of Holmes County, Bank of Yazoo, and banks in Warren County, Copiah, and others in Mississippi. If the allegations in the lawsuit are true and the information JJ has uncovered so far is any indication, the amount of money involved could be a staggering amount.
Mississippi Valley Title gets Temporary Restraining Order
Mississippi Valley Title and others filed several actions against the Evans brothers and their various companies. (See below for other lawsuits). MVT filed a Complaint for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction and Other Relief on September 18, 2009 (MVT is represented by Adams & Reese) in which it alleged fraud. Copy of lawsuit . The motion for the TRO alleged the Defendants "fraudulently and intentionally obtained mortgages on properties located in Madison County and throughout the State.
2. These mortgages were obtained through fraudulent and/or inaccurate misrepresentations on certificates of title issued by Charles H. Evans to Plaintiffs. In reliance on these fraudulent and inaccurate certificates of title, Plaintiffs issued title insurance. The details of this fraudulent activity are outlined in the affidavit of Brad Jones, which is incorporated by reference and attached hereto as Exhibit 1." Copy of motion
The Court granted the TRO on the same day and stated:
"1. Charles H. Evans was an approved attorney for Plaintiffs and provided title certificates for certain lands owned or controlled by Defendants....
3. Charles H. Evans provided certificates of title to Mississippi Valley Title upon which title insurance policies were issued.
4. Based on the evidence, including a sworn affidavit, there is a substantial likelihood that Plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the merits." Copy of order
The Court froze all assets of the Defendants and ordered an inspection of the books within five days of the order's "entrance", a list of all real property owned, and a list of all financial institutions where "the Defendants have assets.".
Exhibit 1 goes into more detail about how the fraud occurred. Unfortunately, Mississippi Valley Title filed the exhibit under seal and claimed "Public disclosure of the information contained in the affidavit may cause harm to both Plaintiffs and Defendants in this case. Furthermore, public disclosure of the information contained in the affidavit may violate applicable financial privacy laws." Copy of Motion to file under seal and Order
Is that really the case, or is it more a case of if all these banks discover they were ripped off by a scheme involving Charles Evans, they might start filing claims against Mississippi Valley Title? One must ask why the Court couldn't simply redact the personal and private financial information as the public has a very strong interest in learning how large-scale real estate scams such as the one they allege, operated and deceived so many people and banks. One would think the Court would pay more attention to the issue of transparency as well as protecting the public from scam artists.
The Court extended the TRO on October 9. Copy of Order granting extension. Up until this point, John Collete has represented Jon Evans. Mr. Colette recently filed a motion to withdraw from the case but the plaintiffs are fighting his attempt to withdraw. The Plaintiff's response makes several claims against Colette and the Evans brothers. Colette stated he was withdrawing because Evans was supposedly represented by counsel from his Errors & Omissions coverage. Mississippi Valley Title argued that no lawyer from the insurance company has appeared to represent any of the defendants, no list of properties was provided as ordered by the Court in its TRO, Charles Evans "failed to produce any information or documents as ordered by the Court." It accuses Mr. Colette of filing his withdrawal motion as a "strategic ploy" to buy time for the Defendants and accused them of trying to "manipulate this court". Response to Motion to Withdraw
It is also important to note that the Plaintiffs have not specified a dollar amount for the alleged fraud. Mississippi Valley Title at this time probably has no idea what the total is (if fraud indeed did take place) and its motions show right now, it is just trying to determine exactly what happened.
Other banks file complaints
Meanwhile, Community Bank and Cadence Bank have filed their own lawsuits against the Evans brothers. Community Bank filed a "Complaint for Declaratory Relief, Reformation, Equitable Lien, and Other Equitable Relief" on September 11, 2009 against two of the Evans' companies: Old Agency Business Park Inc. and Madison Avenue Development Company, LLC (Hint to Community: You might want to look at Cedar Lake. Does $720,000 ring a bell?). Copy of Complaint
Community Bank states Madison Avenue issued a Deed of Trust for $776, 129.50 in 2006 for three acres of property and that Madison Avenue Development did not have title to the property. The bank asks the Court to transfer the property to Madison and give its lien first priority and makes several other requests in the alternative if this one is denied. Community Bank realizes it might be behind other creditors and is probably trying to file an action to jump to the front of the "line".
Cadence Bank filed a similar action against Old Agency Business Park, Inc. on October 2, 2009. Cadence stated the Defendant gave it a Deed of Trust for $600,200 in 2003 (Hint to Cadence: You might want to look at the Deed of Trust for $760,241 you got from Cedar Lake in January 2005.). The complaint asks for a correction to be made to the Deed of Trust and in the alternative asks that the Court give its lien first position. Copy of complaint
It should be interesting to see how many Mississippi banks are dragged into this as its clear something occured on a large scale. If the banks were defrauded by Jon and Charles Evans, it must also be asked if Mississippi Valley Title is liable for any fraudulent acts committed by Charles. The country is littered with massive real estate and mortgage fraud cases over the last few years. One can only hope the same thing didn't happen in Mississippi.
Note (This note is about the MVT lawsuit): These companies are owned/controlled by Jon Evans according to the lawsuit and ownership is verified by Secretary of State's website:
1. Woodgreen Development Corp (Filed intent to dissolve 9/25/09)
2. White Oaks Investment LLC
3. Westwoods Investments LLC
4. Twinbrook Run Development Company LLC. Jackson attorney James Bell's firm is
mentioned as a registered agent. According to a letter filed with the SOS, his firm represented quite a few of the Evans' companies as a registered agent.
5. Town Park of Madison LLC
6. Snowden Lane Investments LLC. James Bell is registered agent. Evans is member.
7. Snowden Grove Investors LLC
8. Old Agency Business Park, Inc. Filed intent to dissolve on 9/25/08.
9. Nottaway Pointe, LLC
10. Madison Avenue Development Co. LLC
11. Highland of Ridgeland, Inc.
12. Highland Development Group, Inc. (Dissolved in 2004)
13. Highland CE Corp. (Dissolved in 2004)
14. Hanover Investments LLC. The registered agent and member is Lynne Knight. However, the address listed for her, 1542 Brecon, Jackson MS, is owned by Jon C. Evans
15. Colony Construction Ltd. Filed intent to dissolve on 9/25/08.
16. Clear Creek Development LLC
17. Cedar Lake Investors LLC
18. CE Development LLC. Filed intent to dissolve on 9/25/08.
19. C. H. Evans Company Dissolved in 1998.
20. C&L Inc. Dissolved in 2004.
21. Brisbane Centre LLC
22. Brashear Heath LLC
23. 463 Development Company LLC
These companies are owned by Charles Evans according to lawsuit and verified on Secretary of State's website:
1. Windsor Pass LLC (Jon is registered agent)
2. Park Place Commons LLC (Jon is registered agent)
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tempest in a teapot or record-breaking fraud? Mississippi Valley Title sues Evans brothers alleging fraud.
Related post: Banks loaned nearly $40 million to Evans
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Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).
Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.
Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".
In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.
In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.
Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.
Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!
This is definitely a Beaver production.
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There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.
If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!
This is definitely a Beaver production.
Note: Security provided by INS.