Warren Ballentine, who was once a nationally syndicated radio host, is now just happy to be a free man after being sentenced to only probation and community service for his involvement in a mortgage fraud ring.
The prosecuting attorneys have said that Chicago native, Warren Ballentine, 44, acted as the real estate lawyer at closings involving more than 24 fraudulent loans that resulted in several lenders being scammed out of almost $10 million. A jury in October found Mr. Ballentine guilty of six counts of mail, wire and bank fraud as well as making false statements to financial institutions.
Things were not looking so good for the man that called himself, “The People’s Attorney,” but at Tuesday’s sentencing hearing Warren was given a reason to breathe. U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly said the evidence presented at trial proved Ballentine only seemed to be criminally involved in only three of those deals. Due to the lack of evidence, the judge sentenced Ballentine to three years of probation and 300 hours of community service.
“He was a relatively new attorney, a relatively inexperienced attorney,” Kennelly said. “He was basically chasing fees wherever he could find them. … I view Mr. Ballentine as a relatively minimal participant in this.”
Judge Kennelly also ordered Ballentine to pay $140,940 in restitution.
Before the sentencing, Ballentine was allowed to speak with the judge as he detailed is life growing up in Chicago as poverty stricken and fatherless yet he was able to rise above and do something positive. Until this fraud convocation, Ballentine had no history of any criminal behavior.
“I’m guilty, but I’m guilty of being ignorant,” said Ballentine, “I’m guilty of not paying attention. … Your honor, of course it breaks my heart that I’m going through this, but what hurts me the most is about my kids not having their father.”
After the sentencing, Ballentine said he was planning to appeal his conviction and told reporters he was grateful to the judge for sparing him time in prison.
“I was portrayed as the one doing all this, but I wasn’t,” Ballentine said.
There are no reports regarding Ballentine being able to return to Radio One on any radio station for that matter but we will keep you posted.