Wednesday, September 17, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Pastor, wife arrested for real estate scam

JENSEN BEACH — The three women phoned Rodney McGill in hopes that he'd teach them how to get rich in a difficult real estate market.

The 42-year-old McGill seemed a bona fide success. He drove a Rolls-Royce, hosted a radio show and was pastor of New Hope Outreach Center in Jensen Beach. His wife, Shalonda McGill, 36, was a mortgage broker.

Instead of riches, state investigators said Tuesday, the would-be investors were duped. They paid the McGills inflated prices for homes that since have fallen into foreclosure or default.

The McGills were arrested Tuesday on charges of racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, grand theft and obtaining a mortgage by false representation, the Florida Department of Financial Services said.

The McGills bought four homes in Martin and St. Lucie counties by submitting fraudulent loan applications, then flipped the properties to clients for outsized profits, investigators said. The couple used bogus loan applications to borrow more than the properties were worth, leaving clients with $1.1 million in mortgages, state officials said.

McGill solicited clients through a daily radio program on WJFP-FM 91.1. He told listeners he wanted to teach them to buy and sell real estate with no out-of-pocket expense and a goal of earning $50,000 in 90 days.

The radio pitch yielded three investors, Patricia Kelly, Sharon Schofield and Cynthia McNair, said Detective Ted Padich of the Florida Department of Financial Services.

Investigators said the McGills in June 2006 paid $210,000 for a home at 1000 N.E. County Line Road in Jensen Beach, according to property records. Three months later, they sold the property to Sharon Schofield for $365,000 - a 74 percent increase at a time when home values were falling.

In another example, they said, the McGills in August 2006 paid $147,000 for a house at 2814 S.W. Ann Arbor Road in Port St. Lucie, according to property records. Three months later, they sold it to Patricia Kelly for $229,000 - a 56 percent increase.

"People thought they were getting involved in a real estate investment where he was going to mentor them," Padich said. "What (the McGills) did was simply sell them homes that they already owned."

The McGills also found clients through the Young Millionaires Group Inc., RSM Investment and Mortgage and New Hope Outreach Center Inc. All are at 2110 Arch St. in Jensen Beach.

"It appears that these individuals used their positions in the community to take advantage of people who trusted them," Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink said in a statement. "The evidence our investigation uncovered indicates these two improved their own bottom line while financially devastating the Floridians they promised to help."

The McGills are being held in the Martin County Jail, with bail set at $1.4 million each.

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