- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 3, 2006

A federal judge has rejected a request by the president of a District-based nonprofit that federal authorities immediately return more than $150,000 in cash seized from his BMW during a traffic stop last year.

Duane McKinney, president of the Brotherhood of Men Inc., has said the money was obtained lawfully and that it belonged to the nonprofit. He said the group raises money for youth job training by fixing up and selling old properties.

However, federal authorities said Mr. McKinney is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation.

The probe focuses on whether he has engaged in fraudulent real estate deals, including two transactions in which the Brotherhood of Men purportedly purchased property in the District from persons who were deceased at the time of the sale.

In a nine-page decision released Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton wrote that Mr. McKinney “is unable to offer any proof that the organization is not simply a shell for the unlawful activities alleged by the government.”

The opinion denies Mr. McKinney’s request for authorities to return the money pending the completion of the investigation.

Judge Walton also cited a failure by Mr. McKinney to establish that he is not a flight risk and has sufficient ties to the community.

Mr. McKinney, 33, of Largo, is being investigated by federal authorities regarding real estate deals in the District during the past few years.

The probe began last summer when Arlington County police pulled alongside Mr. McKinney’s BMW because it was stopped 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, a police spokesman had said.

They found more than $150,000 in cash in the trunk. He told the officers the money belonged to the Brotherhood of Men, federal court records show.

According to a seizure affidavit filed by an Internal Revenue Service investigator, authorities suspect that Mr. McKinney, through the Brotherhood of Men, sold property that neither he nor the nonprofit “properly owned.”

Mr. McKinney could not be reached for comment yesterday.

In court documents, he has said “there is no legal basis” for the seizure.

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