Three Chicago churches defrauded by Ohio man, indictment alleges

Three Chicago churches were taken in by a national fraud scheme in which an Ohio man swindled dozens of churches and businesses out of more than $300,000 by promising mortgage loans and then spending the advance fees on clothes, food and other personal expenses, federal prosecutors said.


The indictment returned Wednesday did not name the churches and small businesses victimized by the scheme, but the U.S. attorney’s office said they were located in Chicago, Georgia, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon and Virginia.


Jamal E. Lawson, 42, of Dayton, Ohio, was charged with three counts of wire fraud in the indictment, which seeks forfeiture of at least $308,000. That’s the amount fraudulently obtained, which Lawson allegedly used on travel, clothing, food and cars, prosecutors said.


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