Attorney charged in ` flipping' case

Federal prosecutors allege wire fraud

June 16, 2000|By John B. O'Donnell | John B. O'Donnell,SUN STAFF

A settlement attorney has become the sixth person charged in the first federal prosecution growing out of the property flipping epidemic that has swept across Baltimore in recent years.

Prosecutors unsealed a criminal information this week charging Robert L. Friedman with one count of wire fraud in the case involving Robert L. Beeman of Wilmington, Del., who was charged in March in a 14-count indictment alleging mortgage fraud.

Beeman has flipped more than 100 Baltimore houses in recent years, buying them and quickly reselling them at much higher prices, often using inflated appraisals to justify the prices and induce lenders to finance the deals.

FOR THE RECORD - A headline in early editions yesterday said that a settlement attorney had been indicted in a federal case involving property flipping. In fact, the attorney was not indicted by a grand jury but was charged in a criminal information by the U.S. attorney .
The Sun regrets the error.

Beeman and four others were indicted in March.

The indictment alleges that Friedman participated in the scheme but did not charge him.

The criminal information against Friedman was issued at the time of the indictments but was sealed until this week.

Prosecutors would not say why they had it sealed. Andrew Radding, Friedman's attorney, declined to comment.

Often, a criminal information is used to charge a defendant who has reached a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Among other things, Friedman was accused of preparing inaccurate settlement documents and "sham" second mortgages, and giving lenders false information about the deals.

Beeman and the four others indicted with him are scheduled for trial in September.

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