The Herald Bulletin

April 20, 2013

Prosecutor opens criminal inquiry into broker’s business practices

By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings on Friday asked the Anderson Police Department to open a criminal investigation into the business practices of real estate broker Roger Shoot.

Cummings said he requested the investigation after reading the civil lawsuit filed against Shoot last week by the Indiana Attorney General’s office.

“The concern is the actions occurred over a long period of years, and the same thing was happening to person after person,” Cummings said following his review of the case.

Shoot did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

His Indianapolis attorney, David McNamar, said since he still has “yet to see the complaint filed by the attorney general, I have no basis for commenting on it. I have read the administrative complaint and see no basis for a criminal action.”

The attorney general’s office began investigating Shoot more than a year ago, after receiving a complaint from one of his rent-to-own buyers, Stacey Carnahan.

That complaint led investigators to focus on four properties Shoot managed or owned, and five consumers who entered into contracts with Shoot’s firm, P.R. Properties.

According to the filings, Shoot allegedly collected and then pocketed more than $9,200 from those buyers that was supposed to pay insurance premiums and property taxes.

He allegedly used the money — which should have been held in special trust accounts — for personal expenses at pharmacies, restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations.

In four real estate transactions specifically detailed in the lawsuit, Shoot was the deeded owner of the properties, but failed to record his ownership interest to “conceal and misrepresent the true deeded owner of record" for the properties, according to the filings.

State authorities are seeking an injunction and restitution, court costs and civil penalties.

In a separate complaint filed with the Indiana real Estate Commission, the attorney general’s office seeks permanently to revoke or suspend Shoot’s real estate principal broker’s license.

There’s no telling when the police department’s investigation might be completed, Cummings said.

“Something like this is going to take a lot of time,” he said.

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