CHICAGO — South Side native Warren Ballentine, known for his calls to action on the nationally syndicated radio show he hosts, was pinched last week by federal prosecutors for his alleged role in fraud schemes totaling almost $10 million.
Touted by the radio stations that broadcast "The Warren Ballentine Show" as a civic leader and motivational speaker, Ballentine reportedly put himself through college by working at steel mills and graduated from law school before opening a law firm in southwest suburban Country Club Hills.
He's prominently featured on the WVON AM-1690 website — his show airs on the local station five days per week — as "the people's attorney" whose goal in life is to be "a servant leader."
But based on a statement issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Warren may have fallen from grace into a mortgage fraud scheme that dates back to 2004 and allegedly netted Warren and his cohorts $9,775,000.
Ballentine, 41, now lives in Durham, N.C.
In a six-count indictment issued last week by a grand jury, Ballentine is charged with bank fraud, making false statements to lenders, wire fraud and mail fraud.
Federal prosecutors said Ballentine helped obtain loans of about $9.7 million by making false statements on forms and applications. He represented buyers at real estate closings in Chicago, Woodridge, Mokena and other suburbs knowing that they submitted fraudulent documents, the feds allege.
He is expected in court Feb. 5.
WVON officials could not be reached for comment.
Reporter Wendell Hutson contributed to this story.