Behind the Bey empire - Page 4

Behind the Bey empire: Did real estate fraud help build Your Black Muslim Bakery into an enterprise worth killing for?
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I’m not in contact with these people anymore.”
Bonilla could not be located.
Habitat for Humanity house
Antron Thurman married a woman named Sharon Clements in December 1987. Records show they separated seven months later and eventually filed for a divorce that was never made final.

In early 2000, Clements, as a single mother, moved into a home on 105th Avenue in Oakland built by the low-income housing nonprofit East Bay Habitat for Humanity. It gave Clements a no-interest $112,000 loan with no down payment.

Clements died in April 2003, leaving no will. Usually either there’s a clear legal inheritance, or else the nonprofit passes the deed to someone qualified for low-income aid, executive director Janice Jensen said. But Clements’ son was still a minor.

Clements’ home stood vacant for three years while her estate was sorted out in Alameda County Probate Court.

Then, in mid-2006, Thurman argued he was entitled to the low-income property as Clements’ surviving spouse, records show – even as he listed his address as Johnson’s Antioch home, and other records showed that in the previous few years he had bought and sold in excess of $1 million in East Bay real estate.

“Frankly, I didn’t even know about Mr. Thurman,” Habitat’s Jensen said. “I had no idea who he was or that he even existed until the attorneys got involved. When we looked at the deed, she was the only signature, so she bought that home herself.”

Still, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Marshall L. Whitley awarded Thurman the house, which had restrictions in place to preserve its affordability for low income people.

Thurman then sold it back to Habitat for Humanity for the $13,500 in equity that had accrued during the three years Clements owned it.

Alana Conner, an attorney for Thurman at the time, said she couldn't independently recall details of the case and declined to discuss it.

Stewart

Mitzie Peters befriended Brandy Stewart in 2001, studying the Bible with her eventual victim, court records say.

Peters persuaded the cash-strapped AC Transit bus driver to deed the home at 1565 77th Ave. – which Stewart had inherited from her mother, and in which she, her husband and her three children lived – into Peters name and use Peters’ credit to get an equity loan. Peters promised to return the deed after a few days, keeping $12,000 from the loan as a fee.

“She said that because she loved me so much, she would never, ever think about doing this for anyone else, but she would help me to get the house refinanced,” Stewart would later testify.

Stewart deeded the house to Peters on March 11, 2003. But rather than sticking to the deal, Peters drained the property of all equity and gave nothing to Stewart, court records show.

Peters couldn’t have conducted the transaction without Johnson and her family.

As Peters’ broker, Johnson submitted a series of loan applications reporting Peters’ income as increasingly higher until the bank accepted the deal; she also allegedly coached Stewart in writing to the title company and falsely claiming Peters was her cousin.

Johnson’s sister, Ruquayya Jasmine Pennix, prepared Peters’ tax returns to send to the loan company, showing self-employment income that Peters later admitted was bogus; it’s unclear if Pennix knew that at the time.

Another of Johnson’s sisters – Fatima Ismail, who worked in Johnson’s office – drew up a phony lease showing Peters had derived rental income from Stewart’s house, according to court records.

Three months after she took title to Stewart’s house, Peters sold it to one of Johnson’s sons, Amir Bey.

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