In his plea agreement, Page stated that he conspired with John Bales to commit the fraud by agreeing to carry out the purchase of a building in Elkhart, Indiana that would be leased to the Department of Child Services. Bales' bank wired money to a title insurance company to permit Page's company to acquire the building through an entity formed by Bales' Venture Real Estate Services, known as L&BAB, LLC. According to Page's plea agreement, the initials stood for "Lazy and Broke Ass Bitch," which Page explained was how Bales used to refer to him. Page agreed to repay the money wired into the bank account to Bales' company, along with a share of profits once the building was resold for a profit. Although Bales was under contract to provide services to the state of Indiana and was barred under its contract from the state from participating financially in such transactions, his Venture Real Estate business earned a commission of $88,400 and a $28,875 brokerage fee on the sale of the Elkhart building. Page stated that L&BAB received a $22,700 development fee at closing on the real estate, which it remitted to BAB Equity. About six months later, BAB Equity kicked back to Bales' Venture Real Estate a $33,808 development fee.
As part of this scheme, Bales and Venture Real Estate assumed responsibility for leasing the Elkhart building to the state of Indiana. Bales, according to Page, also provided a back-dated mortgage to Page to execute and record on the Elkhart Building to secure the money Bales had provided to purchase the building without the knowledge or consent of his bank's lender. Page understands that by signing the plea agreement he can receive a maximum sentence of 20 years and be fined up to $250 million. Page further admitted that he had defrauded a financial institution out of more than $1 million by engaging in the scheme.
Page's attorney, Robert Hammerle, blames Bales for orchestrating the entire scheme. Schouten asked Hammerle whether he believed Brizzi was a target of the separate investigation in Indianapolis, to which Hammerle replied: "Use your own judgement. Beyond that, I'd refer you to the U.S. Attorney's Office." The U.S. Attorney's Office says it could not confirm or deny whether Brizzi was a target of the investigation. Several weeks back, a rumor began circulating that there was a sealed indictment against Brizzi. When Brizzi was asked by this blogger about the rumor, he indicated that it came as news to him. "During the [Page] hearing, Barrett described the probe as a 'parallel investigation in the Southern District into conduct in which Mr. Page was involved,'" Schouten writes.
UPDATE: Fox 59 News' Russ McQuaid has more on the Brizzi angle to this story:
Brizzi previously told Fox59 that he was granted half interest in the building, worth an estimated $500,000, as a “finder’s fee” even though he put no money into the deal. Bales and Page have been longtime associates of Brizzi’s, donating money to his campaign for prosecutor as well as engaging in other personal business deals.
Fox59 first reported on allegations of questionable plea deals approved by Brizzi in early 2010. In one deal, Page represented steroids dealer Joseph Mobareki. In a rare move as part of the plea bargain, Brizzi approved returning money seized by narcotics officers to pay Page’s legal fees.
In July of 2009 Brizzi and chief trial deputy David Wyser approved an unusual sentence modification of convicted killer Paula Willoughby. Willoughby, who was originally sentenced in 1991 to 110 years in prison for the murder of her husband Darrell, was given an early release.
Willoughby’s father, Harrison Epperly, donated at least $55,000 to Brizzi’s 2006 re-election campaign. Willoughby’s attorney, Jennifer Lukemeyer, held a political fundraiser for Wyser at her downtown condominium a month after the early release. Brizzi and Wyser have always maintained the early release was for humane reasons, including that Willoughby’s remaining son was without parents since his father had been murdered and his mother in prison.
Brizzi was a personal associate of convicted swindler Tim Durham. Durham was sentenced to prison in November for his role in the $200 million collapse of Fair Finance – an Ohio-based firm where Brizzi briefly served on the board of directors. Brizzi and Wyser both received campaign donations from Durham.