A former Lebanon man is facing multiple federal fraud charges.
Charles Jones, who was found to be living in Georgia when he was arrested, was charged with fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire, mail and bank fraud.
All this comes five years after he and his company, dont4close.com, told struggling homeowners he could help save their homes from foreclosure. He also owned, co-owned and operated numerous other entities, such as American Liberty National Mortgage Co. and FCC Construction.
According to the federal indictment, dont4close.com, was a Lebanon-based business which Jones advertised as “being in the business of assisting distressed homeowners at risk of losing their homes in foreclosure and going into bankruptcy.”
Once Jones identified struggling homeowners as customers, prosecutors allege he recruited associates, family and friends to buy those individuals’ homes and get loans from federally insured financial institutions and other lenders, such as Wells Fargo Bank, SDI Funding, First Freedom Bank and Equity Mortgage Funding Inc.
Federal prosecutors now allege from around May 2005 through around April 2009, Jones defrauded federally insured financial institutions and other lenders in millions of dollars in loans through the purchase of real estate properties.
During the height of the foreclosure crisis, numerous homeowners often turned to Jones and Dont4close.com after falling behind on their mortgage payments. However, the unsuspecting homeowners soon found out Jones had sold their home rights from under them.
According to the federal indictment, Jones used associates to buy the properties and act as “straw borrowers” for him in order to get fraudulent loans. He and the straw borrowers then “fraudulently manipulated loan closings in order to facilitate and perpetuate the fraud. To get loans, Jones fraudulently caused false information to be submitted to the lenders in borrowers’ loan applications and other loan documents. At times, Jones fraudulently transferred funds to borrowers’ bank accounts to create misleading, artificial appearance of their financial condition.”
Properties in which loans were apparently fraudulently obtained include a home on N. Hardin Drive in Columbia, a home on Clyde Circle in Mt. Juliet and a bowling alley on N. Cumberland Street in Lebanon.
Former employees and associates related to Jones are likely to be named or sought after by prosecutors.
Jones was taken to Nashville in early January to make his first court appearance. He pleaded not guilty.