Judge Issues Arrest Warrant
Ronnie Duke, the habitual criminal who rose to become the kingpin of a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud operation has failed to report to federal prison in West Virginia.
Duke was convicted and sentenced in April to 13 years in prison for using a scheme that used fake documents to secure hundreds of loans on homes throughout Metro Detroit from 2003 to 2007.
Duke, who had been in prison numerous times since he was a teenager for credit card fraud, embezzlement and receiving stolen property, operated a scheme that triggered nearly $100 million in losses for financial institutions while Duke bankrolled a lavish lifestyle that would make even Robin Leech blush.
Duke used strippers from various strip clubs from the Detroit suburbs to help him target distressed homeowners who had homes with values of $350,000 and up and then used “straw buyers” to bail the people out of foreclosure only to charge them outrageous fees and set them up to go further in debt and lose the house.
In April, U.S. District Judge Julian Abele Cook also ordered Duke to pay a $1-million fine and $94 million in restitution for his crimes which involved 500 fraudulent mortgage loans, more than 100 straw buyers and roughly 180 residential properties in metro Detroit. Duke and his top lieutenants counterfeited purchase agreements, created fake closing documents and fictitious title companies that actually were controlled by Duke and his partners. This caused the warranty deeds and mortgages associated with the majority of the loans to go unrecorded and left the loans unsecured.
U.S. District Judge Julian Abele Cook allowed Duke to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons in West Virginia instead of requiring him to post bond, putting him on a tether or keeping him in custody.
Duke’s attorney, Harold Gurewitz declined comment to the media. However, he has withdrawn his appeal of Duke’s sentence he filed with the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.