Arizona Minister Charged with Real Estate Fraud

A respected, well-known minister, with followers from all over the world, was charged late last week for his role in a $5.5 million real-estate fraud that sent more than a dozen homes into foreclosure.

A federal judge convicted Clint Rogers, the head of Mesa-based Clint Rogers Ministries, the maximum prison sentence of five years after he pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and used his ministry to launder millions of dollars he made from a home-flipping scheme.

The homes were purchased in the mid-2000s, during the height of the real-estate boom, and owners would lie about the value of the homes, transfer the title at a bloated price, and pocket the difference. Settlement statements showed that when a home was sold, Rogers would receive very little from the sale (a couple hundred dollars) but it concealed upwards of half a million dollars paid to ministry accounts that he controlled.

Rogers, three co-conspirators, and Rogers’ wife Angela have all pled guilty for their roles in the scheme, commonly known as a cash-back operation.

Rogers continues to maintain that he didn’t orchestrate the scheme and that he sought legal advice to ensure he wasn’t breaking the law, although he admits he failed to list other real-estate transactions on his loan applications. He argued in court that he should be eligible for probation and not receive more than six months in prison.

Do you think that Rogers’ punishment was worse than the crime? Or do you feel he and his conspirators are being charged appropriately for all the damage to the properties, to individuals and to the real-estate industry as a whole?