Indiana attorney general targeting Joseph Stanley, Spectrum Property after Call 6 investigation

Call 6 investigating men since 2006

INDIANAPOLIS - A man at the top of a central Indiana real estate business the Call 6 Investigators have been digging into for years may be forced to face off with state investigators.

State regulators told Call 6 Investigator Rafael Sanchez that they are planning to pursue a new legal avenue based on RTV6's series of reports spanning several years involving Joseph Stanley, who is now accused of violating the Indiana Home Loans Practices Act and Indiana Business Corporate Law.

Regulators said Stanley engaged "in a deceptive act in connection with a real estate transaction" and had been involved in about 25 private civil lawsuits for nonpayment and eviction over the course of 10 years.

"Get the hell out of my face, stupid dumb {expletive}, incompetent, parasitic {expletive}," Stanley told Sanchez when asked about his business in 2009.

Several homeowners agreed to sell their homes over a two-year period to Stanley and his associated companies through a land contract, but they rarely receiving any money and were forced to evict buyers who ended up living in their homes for free.

Randall Patee, who Call 6 interviewed as locksmiths changed his locks in 2010, almost lost the home he inherited from his parents.

"For a while, I didn't know what was going to happen," Patee said.

Patee regrets agreeing to sell his home to Stanley and Stephen Harris, who promised to pay off their debt within two years. They moved in and never paid.

Patee had given up hope that further action would be taken against Stanley and Harris.

"They deserve to be in jail. They are a threat to people," Patee said. "They did hurt me, but they could hurt others a whole lot more."

It cost Patee $10,000 in legal fees to get his house back, and he isn't the only home seller that tangled with Spectrum Property and related businesses.

Over the years, the Call 6 Investigators have found more than 20 other homeowners who had similar experiences with Harris and Stanley.

And he's not the only home seller that tangled with Spectrum Property and its related businesses.

"I hold a real estate license. If they can scam me, they can scam anybody," said realtor Steve Kuhn.

Call 6 first began investigating Stanley and Harris in 2006.

"You are a parasite," Stanley told Sanchez seven years ago.

"Get out of my face, Rafael," Harris said.

The company usually offered to buy a house over a two-year period under a land contract. As part of the deal, the company agreed to pay a deposit and make regular payments. The men rarely paid and lived in homes for free until eviction.

"Spectrum Property Corporation of Indiana has continued to exceed or abuse its authority conferred upon it by law by engaging in numerous fraudulent and deceptive acts," state regulators said.

Stanley and Harris lived in Patee's home for at least three months without paying anything. The lived in another home for eight months in 2006 and stayed 10 months in another home in 2001.

Call 6's previous attempts to get the men to explain their contracts led to a storage bin as they were being evicted from another property.

"You should have been strangled at birth with your mother's umbiblical (sic) cord," Stanley told Sanchez in the 2009 encounter.

"We don't engage in deliberate scams or perpetrate this kind of thing. It's not inherent in our nature," Stanley said.

Court records indicate Stanley and Harris' company still owes more than $325,000 in court-ordered judgments over the past decade. Until now, individual homeowners were forced to take them to court.

Now, the state is stepping in, using a new provision in the Home Loans Practices Act that targets those who may be abusing land contracts.

"We are certainly alleging and believe this was a scheme," said Indiana Deputy Attorney General Gabrielle Owens.

The state action marks the first time the Attorney General's Office is taking a business and its owners to court using the new provision.

The state is charging Stanley first because he is the company's president. Regulators also want to keep Stanley from opening another real estate business.

Over the years, investigators said Stanley used other business names – Property Quest Corp., Investment Property Corp., Property Acquisition and Realty Corp., Universal Property Corp. of Indiana, Spectrum Paradigm Company and Motordom Automotive and Property Group.

Cynthia Harden, a realtor, said it's about time actions is taken against Spectrum Property. She said she was almost convinced to help Stanley and Harris buy properties in 2007.

"I think they need to pay for crime," she said. "I hate that someone would take my honesty and kindness as a weakness and use it so that they can get over."

"I would like to see those people not able to do this anymore," Patee said.

The state is seeking an injunction, consumer restitution, civil penalties and attorney fees. Regulators also want to keep Stanley from registering additional corporations in Indiana and dissolve Spectrum Property.

Sanchez tried to reach Stanley, who is charged, and Harris, who isn't, for their response to the state's lawsuit, but have been unable to reach them.

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