Published on Monday, 28 January 2013 22:29
Warren Ballentine -- the Chicago native, who is an attorney and a radio host -- was indicted this past Thursday by a federal grand jury. According to the Justice Department, Ballentine is accused of mortgage fraud schemes, which defrauded lenders of approximately $9.7 million.
According to the prosecution, Warren Ballentine worked with others to purposely obtain at least 25 loans to buyers who were not qualified for those loans. As an attorney, he represented these fraudulent buyers at their closings, even though he allegedly knew they were unqualified buyers. These incidents supposedly happened during a 1.5 year period between December 2004 and May 2006.
Ballentine has been charged with six counts: two counts of bank fraud, two counts of making false statements to lenders, one count of mail fraud, and one count of wire fraud. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of $9.78 million. Ballentine is now scheduled to appear in court at the Dirksen Federal Building in downtown Chicago on February 5th to address these charges against him.
If convicted, Ballentine could be sentenced to a maximum of 30 years in prison and/or up to a $1 million fine per count.
Although he has yet to make a formal public statement, via social media, Warren Ballentine has been proclaiming his innocence. Among the statements he has made include the following, taken verbatim from Warren Ballentine's Facebook account from this past Friday
"Well I guess this is GODS will but its hard. Its hard when u know folks are lying on you to save themselves. Its hard when u know u didnt do anything. I pray u all will b there for me because Im really going to need it PLEASE PRAY for me for I may lose everything I worked so hard for because of someone else's lies. THIS IS A NIGHTMARE"
Warren Ballentine is the host of "The Warren Ballentine Show," which is a popular, nationally syndicated Urban talk show. Locally, "The Warren Ballentine Show" airs on WSRB-FM/Soul 106.3 from 9:00am-11:00am. A long-delayed rerun of the show airs on WVON-AM from 4:00am-6:00am.
After both the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune said in headlines and within the body of the story that Warren Ballentine was on WVON, WVON's President, Melody Spann Cooper requested both newspapers revise their stories immediately to properly reflect their association with Ballentine and his show. Ms. Spann Cooper pointed out that they merely air syndicated reruns of his show in overnight hours and that he actually airs on a directly competing station of theirs, on WSRB-FM.
Regarding Ballentine's indictment and the future of his syndicated show on WVON-AM, Melody Spann Cooper also stated "This is an unfortunate situation and we hope things work out for Mr. Ballentine. No decision has been made on whether we will continue to carry his radio show as it is not a primary focus of the station. We continue to focus on and promote our popular weekday primetime hosts, as well as prepare for a significant milestone in broadcast history this year when WVON turns 50."
There has been no public statement from Crawford Broadcasting's WSRB-FM as of yet.
As for the future of his radio show, Warren Ballentine did say the following on Twitter and Facebook tonight
: "Now I'm being told take time off the radio smh. (Shaking my head.) I need to be on air to tell my side." This could mean he will be off the air for the time being, while he prepares to fight these charges.
All of the alleged incidents took place before Ballentine began as a nationally syndicated radio host. "The Warren Ballentine Show" launched in syndication in April 2007.
Ballentine was born and raised on Chicago's south side. He currently lives full-time in Durham, NC, but maintains a law office in Chicago's south suburbs.
Updated with additional information on 1/29/13.