Home » NEWS » Banking & Finance » Evans trial: He worked for us, but he didn't really

Evans trial: He worked for us, but he didn't really

By Amy McCullough

Attorneys for Mississippi Valley Title, the Bank of Forest and Heritage Bank gave opening statements yesterday for the long-awaited Evans trial in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.

Judge Neil Olack will rule on the case. There is no jury, and proceedings will continue through Friday (March 4).

The $40 million commercial rest estate Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Charles Evans Jr. and Chris Evans, both of Jackson, began to unravel in September 2009. Chris declared bankruptcy shortly thereafter, and all lawsuits were moved to bankruptcy court.

The brothers stacked mortgages on parcels in Madison, Harrison and DeSoto counties and scammed more than 30 banks statewide.

Banks are trying to get more money for their claims and prove that MVT engaged in fraud.

MVT says the company is just as much of a victim in the case as the banks.

MVT attorney Bill Brabec said about $16 million has already been paid in claims. Last time the Mississippi Business Journal checked, MVT has around $30 million in its claims reserves.

Brabec said title insurance policies are contractual agreements that cover defects in title; they don’t act as insurance for loans.

“What’s happening here is both Bank of Forest and Heritage Bank are trying to obtain loan insurance to cover their loan deficiencies,” he said.

He worked for us, but not really

Charles Evans Jr. was an approved attorney for MVT who wrote more than 100 title policies for the company.

Brabec noted the distinction between approved attorneys and title agents. MVT will accept the work of approved attorneys, who are pre-approved to submit applications to MVT for policies. However, they are not agents licensed with the state of Mississippi. Agents are authorized to act on behalf of the company in issuing title commitments and policies.

What the banks had to say

The banks cross-examined two MVT employees who explained that they relied on Evans’ work and didn’t check the certifications he presented after doing title research.

Parrish Fortenberry, vice president for senior claims and title counsel, said MVT does not supervise approved attorneys. MVT runs a background check on them before putting them on a list of those approved.

Read previous MBJ stories on the Evans fraud here.

Contact the write at amy.mccullough[at]msbusiness[dot]com.


… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.

If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.

Click for more info

About Amy McCullough

Leave a Reply