Society

Runaway Mortgage Crook Assaults Prosecutor After Being Detained

| by Jonathan Wolfe

Runaway mortgage kingpin Ronnie Duke was finally detained by police on Monday. Duke was convicted eight months ago for his role in a scheme that used fake documents to secure hundreds of loans on homes in the greater Detroit area from 2003-2007. He fled in June after being sentenced to 13 months in prison.

Yesterday, the law caught up with Duke in Saline, Michigan. At about 2:30 pm, Duke appeared in court for his arraignment. It was there he put forth one last act of defiance to the criminal justice system. According to court officials, Duke assaulted a federal prosecutor during his arraignment.

After consenting to detention, Duke filled out some paper work. As the paper work was handed to the presiding magistrate, Duke allegedly lunged at a prosecuting attorney.

“He just suddenly bolted and assaulted her. It was only a matter of seconds before the marshals subdued him,” U.S. District Court spokesman Rod Hansen said. “It was clearly more than a shove.”

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The prosecutor briefly checked into a local hospital and is now in good health.

It is not known how much longer Duke’s prison sentence will be after both his eight month run from the law and Monday’s assault. After his June sentencing, federal prosecutors feared he would flee in the time between his sentencing and his prison report date. U.S. District Judge Julian Abele Cook trusted Duke to self-report, but his trust was not rewarded. His attorney saw no reason to believe Duke would run, either.

“He had been completely cooperative on all occasions before. I didn’t think there were any obvious signs that he wouldn’t show,” Defense attorney Harold Gurewitz said.

Duke and his colleagues are convicted of creating a loan-scheme that cost lenders more than $100 million in losses. Duke deceived his lenders with counterfeit purchase agreements, fake closing documents, and phony title companies that were actually owned by Duke and is co-workers. The scammers used the loan proceeds to buy vacations, boats, cars, and a nightclub.

In addition to his prison sentence, Duke was ordered to pay a $1 million fine and $94 million in restitution for his crime. He has previous criminal convictions for embezzlement, credit card fraud, receiving and concealing stolen property, escape, aggravated stalking, and disturbing the peace. 

Sources: Detroit News, Detroit Free Press