Millions Missing From Company's Accounts - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NewsChannel 5 Investigates:

Millions Missing From Company's Accounts

Attorney John McLemore Attorney John McLemore
Chris Forsythe, company owner Chris Forsythe, company owner
Mechele Neal Mechele Neal

Title companies are supposed to make sure realtors, insurance companies and old mortgages are paid.

But customers of one company are wondering what happened to their money.

"This has been a nightmare," says Mechele Neal, who recently refinanced her home.

"I sign my life away and for what? They didn't do what they were supposed to do."

She's a single mom and a nurse.

She says Forsythe Title and Escrow received a large check from her new lender, but Forsythe never paid off her old mortgage -- and now she's stuck paying two mortgages.

"Who has my money? That's what I want to know. Where is it?" asks Neal.  "Someone should have been paid and someone has my money that should have gone to my first mortgage."

Neal believes the answers lie with Chris Forsythe, the former Hendersonville alderman who owns the title company. Forsythe is a well-known businessman who has contributed to many local causes.

Court documents paint a picture of a troubled business, and last week a Sumner County judge shut down Forsythe Title after the company began bouncing checks from its customer's escrow accounts.

"It's a bad situation we're working as quickly as we can to get the answers but we don't have them right now," says attorney John McLemore. He was appointed by the court to find out what went wrong. 

But Newschannel 5 Investigates learned that on January 11th, the day Forsythe Title closed on the Mechele Neal's $243,000 mortgage, the company only had about $1,400 in its escrow account. 

"It's terrible for this person," says McLemore. "That's why I'm saying thank you for bringing this to me this is going on our list."

But the list keeps getting bigger, and investigators must now pour through stacks of files of people who recently used Forsythe Title.

The company did up to $30 million of business a month. Investigators are also examining computers from each of its six locations.

"You don't play games with other people's money," says Neal, adding that she wants answers. But investigators say it's just too early to know what happened.

McLemore says that Chris Forsythe has been communicating through his attorney.

"I want him to look me straight in the face and say this is what I did with your money and I'm going to ask 'Why did you do that?'" Neal says.

Steve Lefkowitz, an attorney for Chris Forsythe, told us that this has been a devastating time for his client.

Forsythe claims 12 different people had access to the company's escrow accounts and that he hopes auditors can find out where things went so wrong.

Meanwhile, McLemore is urging anyone who recently closed on a home with Forsythe Title to examine their documents closely and to verify that everything was paid correctly.

He wants to hear from anyone who suspects they may have a problem. He can be reached at (615) 383-9495.

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