Radio host convicted in $10 million fraud gets probation

CHICAGO (AP) — A suburban Chicago lawyer who hosted a syndicated radio talk show has received a probation sentence for defrauding lenders out of nearly $10 million in a mortgage fraud scheme.

Warren Ballentine was accused of conspiring to secure more than two dozen fraudulent mortgage loans. During his October trial, federal prosecutors told jurors loan applications Ballentine submitted to lenders were “shot through with lies.”

Ballentine and others allegedly used straw buyers to secure mortgages on 28 properties they never intended to live in. But during sentencing Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly declared Ballentine a “minimal participant” in the scheme.

In addition to probation, Ballentine must serve 300 hours of community service and pay $140,000 in restitution.

In seeking prison time for Ballantine, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Yonan argued communities and neighborhoods suffered due to the scheme.