Dallas Man Charged In $26 Million Real Estate Scam
A Dallas man who allegedly scammed Chinese investors out of more than $26 million has been federally charged, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham.
Timothy Lynch Barton, the 59-year-old president of real estate development firm JMJ and CEO of real estate investment firm Carnegie Development, was indicted Tuesday on seven counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and one count of securities fraud. He made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge David L. Horan today.
According to the indictment, Mr. Barton allegedly traveled to Hangzhou, China to market real estate investment opportunities in Texas to Chinese investors.
During his presentations – which highlighted his supposed ties to U.S. politicians – Mr. Barton allegedly claimed that the properties in question were located in sought-after neighborhoods in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. He introduced a builder, identified in court documents as S.W., who he claimed would purchase lots to build on to sell to future home buyers.
Mr. Barton allegedly promised investors annual interest payments for two years, followed by the return of their initial investment at the end of the second year. He allegedly claimed that the investors would contribute 80 percent of the funds necessary for the project, and he and others would contribute the remaining 20 percent. Mr. Barton also allegedly represented that no commissions would be paid out of investor funds.
In loan agreements signed by the investors, Mr. Barton allegedly inflated the cost of each property by as much as 195 percent, and in some instances, never actually purchased the property. Mr. Barton also allegedly paid interest payments to early investors with investor funds from later projects.
Contrary to his loan agreements, Mr. Barton allegedly paid commissions out of investors’ funds, and even funneled investors’ money into unrelated projects. Still other funds were used to pay consultants or even to pay an unrelated company’s AmEx bill. According to the indictment, investors lost more than $26,000,000 to the scheme.
An indictment is merely an allegation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Mr. Barton is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.
If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each count of wire fraud, up to 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and up to 20 years in federal prison for securities fraud.
He is also the subject of a parallel civil action filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Renee Hunter is prosecuting the case.