Over the past eight months, a network of investors in Hillsborough County has bought 71 properties valued at $8.2 million following homeowners association foreclosures. Here are some of the people involved with the businesses known as Prop Inc., F.Y.M., F.Y. Mortgage and P&D Resources.
Ralph Chancey, 67
A Tampa marketing consultant, Chancey said he hit on the idea of buying HOA foreclosures, though his son, Michael, incorporated the four companies. Chancey has been active in several local charities, including former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Mike Alstott's family foundation. In 2002, a federal judge ordered corporations controlled by Chancey to forfeit $20,000 and a $700,000 Pasco County property that Barry Haught transferred to him after Haught was charged with Medicare fraud. Chancey said he recruits investors for the real estate businesses.
Michael D. Chancey, 49
Chancey, who has worked in medical supplies and sports marketing, is the sole official listed on corporate records for the Hillsborough group. In 2001, he pledged a Valrico property as collateral for Barry Haught's legal fees; that property was foreclosed upon in 2008 by the lender.
Barry D. Haught, 57
Haught attends foreclosure auctions, shows houses and collects rents on behalf of Chancey's companies. He is also identified on deeds as vice president of Prop Inc. and F.Y.M. Inc. In 2003, Haught was convicted of cheating Medicare out of $14 million; he served 4 1/2 years in prison and as of 2009 owed $9.7 million in restitution. Earlier this year, Haught was charged with destroying a tenant's 32-inch TV set; the charge has been dropped.
Lisa Gerhart, 53
Gerhart, a licensed real estate broker, handles leasing for Chancey's group. She was arrested in early May and charged with throwing a plant stand through a glass door at Haught's residence; the charge has been dropped.
Edward J. Pruse, 36
Pruse, who lives in one of the group's most expensive homes in Brandon, said he brings deals to the investment group. A former St. Petersburg resident, Pruse was sentenced to 13 months in state prison in 1997 for filing a false statement with an insurance company, trafficking in stolen property, grand theft and worthless checks. He was released in 1998, but returned to prison in 1999 for robbery with a deadly weapon at a Largo movie theater. He was released in November 2002.
Benjamin A. Cheek, 37
Cheek, who recently moved into a Tampa home acquired by Prop Inc., did federal prison time for bilking a retired lieutenant colonel and his wife out of at least $250,000. Cheek is a friend of Barry Haught. From 2006 to their release in 2008, the two were in the same West Virginia prison camp. Cheek's father, Malcolm, chief executive of a major engineering firm, was the subject of national news stories in the 1990s when he disappeared for three years after defrauding banks. He was sentenced to nine years in prison and was released in 2002.