FBI Considers Criminal Charges Against Midstate Businessman - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

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FBI Considers Criminal Charges Against Midstate Businessman

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GALLATIN, Tenn. - Nearly $2 million is missing and a prominent Midstate businessman could face criminal charges.

Earlier this year, a NewsChannel 5 investigation exposed why a judge shut down six Forsythe Title and Escrow locations.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is now interested in the case.

Chris Forsythe's a former Hendersonville alderman and prominent businessman, but now his business is closed and federal authorities are considering criminal charges.

"We were devastated," said Charles Braswell.

Braswell said Forsythe's company ripped him off.

"Somebody writes you a check. It's your money. It's supposed to be guaranteed money. Most people are going to go spend it," he said.

Braswell owns a body shop in Sumner County. His realtor used Forsythe Title and Escrow to sell some property his wife inherited. But when he cashed the profits in January, Forsythe's checks bounced, costing him thousands of dollars.

"My wife's grieving over her mother, now she's grieving because they took all this money out her checking account," he said.

In January, a judge shut down Forsythe's company after it began bouncing checks from its escrow accounts.

But Forsythe's extravagant lifestyle has raised questions. He lived in a million-dollar house and donated to many local causes.

Court documents show his company was missing around $2 million.

"I want him to look me straight in the face and say, ‘Hey, this is what I did with your money.' And I'm going to ask why did you do that?" Mechele Neal said.

Earlier this year, NewsChannel 5 Investigates talked with Neal. She refinanced her home and gave Forsythe a check for $243,000 to pay off her first loan.

But Forsythe's company never paid the first mortgage and Neal was left with two mortgages.

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

Investigators poured through stacks of records from Forsythe's six offices. Court documents show they found the files in "sad disarray." 

The documents indicate the FBI and US attorney's office are investigating the missing money.

Forsythe's attorney said in January that his client  was eager to find out what happened to the money. 

But this time he had no comment.

"When you hear talk of criminal charges against Chris Forsythe, what do you think?" asked NewsChannel 5 investigative reporter Ben Hall.

"I think he's deserving of because somebody embezzled some money somewhere or it would be there," Braswell said.

Forsythe was an agent for a larger company that is paying Forsythe's debts. So everyone has now received what they were owed.

There are no charges yet, but the FBI is interested in the case, according to the recent court documents.

The FBI is looking at what happened to the money. Forsythe declined comment for this story.

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