A man involved in a complicated scam to sell a church he didn’t own has been found guilty on 11 counts of fraud.
Tracy Carmichael, 46, of Detroit in 2007 offered to sell the Temple of God Deliverance on Mount Elliot to a woman who was interested in the property as a land investment.
The scam involved Carmichael finding a “straw buyer” with good credit to take out a mortgage on the church property, said Abed Hammoud, head of the Deeds and Mortgage Fraud Unit, a task force involving the Wayne County Prosecutor’s, Sheriff’s and Register’s offices.
“Carmichael got a quit claim deed without the knowledge of the real owner,” Hammoud said. “Then he got the victim to take out a $149,500 mortgage on the property. She thought she was doing it to help out the church.”
Carmichael told the woman he would handle all of the paperwork, manage the property and send payments to the mortgage company, though his firm, Media Financial.
Pastor Robert Lodge, who owned the property, later found out that the deed to the church and other documents were false. Lodge never authorized Carmichael to sell the property and discovered his signatures had been forged on the documents.
Lodge only became aware of the crime when his congregation was served eviction papers because they hadn’t paid the mortgage.
Source: Detroit News