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Mortgage fraud case has Ellis County link

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JOEY DAUBEN

and MEGAN GRAY

The Ellis County Press

OAK LEAF – Robert John Mason reportedly pled not guilty to wire fraud last week after a series of state and federal investigations into alleged mortgage fraud.

Mason, who has a residence in the northern Ellis County town of Oak Leaf, could not be reached for comment.

Ellis County commissioners voted Monday to hire Ken Singleton, a temporary deputy constable in Precinct 4 (Red Oak-Oak Leaf-Midlothian), to investigate alleged mortgage fraud.

A 51-count indictment unsealed last week, according to The Dallas Morning News and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, alleges 11 men of recruiting "straw buyers" to purchase homes and then allowing the loans to go unpaid, which would result in foreclosure.

The mortgages were based on artificially inflated prices, the indictments alleged.

"Mortgage fraud and related securities fraud pose a significant threat to our economy, to the stability of our nation’s housing market and to the peace of mind of millions of American homeowners," said Deputy Attorney General Mark R. Filip in a joint press release issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas office. "Operation Malicious Mortgage and our other mortgage-related enforcement actions demonstrate the Justice Department’s commitment and determination to combat these criminal schemes, hold their perpetrators accountable and help restore stability and confidence in our housing and credit markets."

Mason, according to the DMN, worked for Eric Farrington, a convicted felon and Irving-based motivational speaker. Farrington is accused of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering.

Mason’s Oak Leaf residence was listed on Ellis Central Appraisal records for $89,320.

Midlothian link?

Mid-America Mortgage, owned by Midlothian school board trustee Jim Mentzel, was alleged by a Duncanville real estate broker last month of being associated with Farrington and allegedly under investigation by the FBI.

Mentzel’s office was contacted last month by The Ellis County Press repeatedly when the allegations were made, but last week, Mentzel’s secretary called and said "he’s not interested in commenting."

Mid-America was once based in Duncanville, in southwest Dallas County, and though not publicly linked to the Farrington case in the Justice Department’s press releases, current and former employees of Mid-America described Mentzel and his former business partner as "shady."


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