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Owner of Edwardsburg restaurant that burned faces unrelated fraud charges

Cass County documents show at least 10 properties owned by T & R Investments in foreclosure

August 09, 2011|By Kelli Stopczynski (kstopczynski@wsbt.com), Click here to become a fan of Kelli on Facebook | By Kelli Stopczynski (kstopczynski@wsbt.com), Click here to become a fan of Kelli on Facebook

SOUTH BEND – The man who owned a popular Edwardsburg restaurant that burned two years ago pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of bank fraud.  Troy Treat, co-owner of T & R Investments, admitted to his involvement in a fraud scheme that swindled the former Standard Federal Bank, now Bank of America, out of nearly $400,000. 

U.S. District court documents say Treat used "false statement and pretenses" on loan applications he filled out for his company, T & R Investments, back in 2005. The documents also say Treat claimed he or T & R Investments owned more than $12.3 million in real estate investments when, in fact, he did not.  In addition, the allegations say he lied about monthly rent amounts his company was earning from rental properties.

Prosecutors say Treat also made up a fake lease agreement in his attempt to get a loan from the bank.  That agreement allegedly said T & R Investments had entered into a lease agreement with a local restaurant for $7,500 a month, but investigators found that information to be bogus.

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Meanwhile, apartment buildings built and owned by Treat’s company recently went into foreclosure.  Tenants living in two buildings received a letter dated July 27, saying Teacher’s Credit Union now has full ownership of those buildings. 

The letter also said the new management company would be changing the locks and giving tenants new keys.  WSBT talked with several people who live in those buildings and everyone said that letter did not surprise them.

Cass County records show those apartment buildings are among ten total Edwardsburg properties T & R Investments used to own but have since gone into foreclosure or been put up for sheriff's sale.

One of those foreclosed properties – now vacant land – is what used to be Legends Sports Bar and Grill, a building that burned in October 2009.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ruled the fire an arson and the investigation is ongoing, but they haven’t made any arrests.  Investigators won’t say whether Treat is a suspect.

In response to the 2005 fraud charges, Treat’s attorney – Andre Gammage – wouldn't do an interview with WSBT, but he told our partners at the South Bend Tribune the money in question is a small amount compared to the millions Treat has paid back to banks during the 30 or more years his family has been in business in the area.

"There's a lot of good he and his family have done in the community," said Treat's attorney Andre Gammage.  "Our goal is to keep him out of jail, and the sentencing guidelines to allow for some leniency on the part of the court."

Treat's sentencing for the fraud charges is set for October 6. 

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