- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 5, 2007

Federal prosecutors are seeking to jail a local man who remains free on bond as he awaits trial on charges he used his nonprofit group to engineer a real estate fraud scheme and steal from the dead.

Duane McKinney, 35, executive director of the District-based Brotherhood of Men, faces a 13-count indictment and nearly a decade in prison if convicted of stealing properties from the estates of dead people and others.

But prosecutors this week sought to put Mr. McKinney behind bars pending trial, citing an FBI operation in which authorities say he tried to secure a fraudulent $100,000 loan.

One month after authorities unsealed the indictment, prosecutors said, the FBI taped a conversation between Mr. McKinney and a mortgage company cooperating in the investigation.

During one of the taped conversations, Mr. McKinney identified himself as a real estate investor and requested a $100,000 loan on property that prosecutors say is subject to criminal forfeiture.

The memo filed to revoke Mr. McKinney’s bond says he has “continued to engage in fraud” even after his indictment. A judge will determine whether to allow Mr. McKinney to remain free or send him to jail later this month.

Mr. McKinney’s attorney could not be reached for comment.

Mr. McKinney has vigorously denied any wrongdoing, saying “there is no legal basis” for the criminal investigation. He has said the probe hurt the ability of his nonprofit to provide jobs and training to disadvantaged youths in the District.

Contacted by phone, he did not respond to questions about the latest developments in the case.

Before he was indicted, Mr. McKinney filed court papers seeking the return of more than $150,000 in cash that authorities seized during the investigation. Last year, a federal judge rejected his request, saying Mr. McKinney could not prove the nonprofit wasn’t “simply a shell for the unlawful activities alleged by the government.”

The investigation by the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and the D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking into Mr. McKinney’s real estate deals began by chance more than two years ago.

Arlington police pulled over when they spotted his BMW disabled on the side of the road near Route 50. After finding out that Mr. McKinney had an outstanding 1999 warrant for simple assault, officers arrested him and searched his car, according to Arlington police. They found more than $150,000 in cash in the trunk that Mr. McKinney said belonged to the Brotherhood of Men.

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