Friday, April 17, 2009

JNS BLOG EXCLUSIVE: Images Of The Teary Aftermath Of The TJ Waconia Mortgage Fraud Sentencing

Photos By Anonymous Contributor

An individual who was at the sentencing hearing for the T.J. Waconia fraudsters--Thomas Balko and Jon Helgason--snapped some photos outside the courtroom with a cell phone camera.

No image of Thomas Balko and Jon Helgason has, to my knowledge, been published in the media to date. Yesterday the Star Tribune made a valiant effort to get a photo, but failed. Where the STrib falls short...

Johnny Northside blog and my network of helpful readers/contributors comes through.

It should be noted, here: the prosecutor said these are not "evil" men, and they have friends and supporters who love them. Nobody wins, here, but maybe North Minneapolis gets a little better instead of a little worse when there are consequences for fraudulent real estate schemes.

Also, just to be clear: I DID NOT TAKE THESE PICTURES. In fact, I was forwarded a very nice image of MYSELF taken with the same cell phone camera, good enough to use for online dating, in fact.

Thanks, oh-so-anonymous contributor, you know who you are and I appreciate your help!

(Note: help needed to confirm the identity of which individual is Balko, which one is Helgason)


Anonymous said...

hey thomas balko and Mr Helgason - I hope you are reading this - thanks to fraudsters like you two (and plenty of others) - GOOD PEOPLE LIKE MYSELF ARE LOSING THEIR HOMES, TOO. Thanks a whole heck of a lot and I hope you are miserable for the rest of your life. I'm trying real hard to not throw a rash of profanity at you.

thanks alot, jerks.

Anonymous said...

John, you are wrong. The guy is the Tan Suite is John Helgason, not Tom. I would know, I have known Tom for 20 yrs and John for 5 yrs. You may want to make a correction.

Anonymous said...

Hey Hoff, that pic of the guy in the tan suite is Helgason, not Balko, and that is Jons mom hugging him.

Johnny Northside said...

Oh, well, here's how it is. Either I'm wrong or the friends of the TJ Waconia fraudsters are in town, messing with me.

I watched the sentencing hearing and for now I'm going to stick with this info.

Anonymous said...

Mr Hoff, they are correct. The guy in the tan is Helgason. I am a relative, and why would anybody mess with you on this, it is very apparent they just want you to get your facts straight.

Victim T said...


They are correct. Jon Helgason is the one in the tan suit.


Anonymous said...

Tom and I were friends as we went through grade school and high school together. When I first heard about this and learned of the outcome, it really made me sad to realize the damage that has been done to all parties involved. All in the name of GREED! Hopefully, while spending time in prison, Tom will finally be able to reflect on his life and turn it around for the good of others. Good luck Tom!

Anonymous said...

With the fraud and financial damage Jon Helgason caused, he and his family have been able to keep their house at 30686 Wallmark Lake Dr, Chisago Lake.

It's tax records are listed as KCH Holdings LLC. A search on this title shows a previous listing on the Sec. of State filings for the State of MN for Kch Holdings at the address of 3101 Old Highway 8 -- yep, that's TJ Waconia.

Nice to know they haven't had to change their address! Unbelievable.

Johnny Northside said...

Wait a second. Isn't there more than one corporate entity at 3101 Old Highway 8? What more can you tell me about KCH Holdings? Does the "H" stand for Helgason? What does the "KC" stand for?

john said...

The Mortgage is one of the best way to express the financial status of a nation. mortgage calculator how much can i afford is the easiest way to get this out of the financial crisis.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

The "John" comment here links to a questionable mortgage site, and offers nothing new on a rather old post. I would consider this spam, and I recommend that readers not patronize the links contained in that comment.

Johnny Northside! said...

Just to help the little Google bots find their way to the right place and get images:

"Jonathan Edward Helgason"

"Thomas Joseph Balko"


Anonymous said...

Thank you. Another example of how John Hoff uses the Internet and Google search to harass and retaliate against people he doesn't like, preserved on our hard drive for future court proceedings.
Keep it up, we need all the evidence we can get!!

Johnny Northside! said...

Here's a link to the consent order where Helgason gave up his licenses. This blog post is a good place for this info and any future researchers who may be following the trail of bread crumbs.

Anonymous said...

Note the short period of time it took these criminal fraudsters to plead guilty once they were charged.

Real Estate Company Owners Sentenced for $35 Million Mortgage Fraud
U.S. Attorney’s Office April 16, 2009

District of Minnesota (612) 664-5600

The two owners of a Roseville real estate company were sentenced today in federal court for mortgage fraud in connection with a scheme involving at least 162 properties, principally in north Minneapolis, and mortgage proceeds of approximately $35 million.

On April 16 in Minneapolis, United States District Court Judge Joan Ericksen sentenced Jonathan Edward Helgason, 46, Chisago City, and Thomas Joseph Balko, 38, Rogers. The defendants were charged on April 11, 2008, and pleaded guilty on April 17.

Helgason, a licensed real estate agent, was sentenced to 96 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Balko was sentenced to 84 months and three years of supervised release. Restitution will be ordered at a later date.

According to their plea agreements, Helgason and Balko were the owners of numerous companies, including TJ Waconia, Total Title LLC, Complete Real Estate Services, Inc. and CityWide Management, LLC and Investor’s Warehouse LLC (the TJ Group).

From approximately 2005 to 2007, Helgason and Balko executed a scheme to defraud and to obtain money by means of false and fraudulent pretenses. Using the TJ Group, Helgason and Balko purchased approximately 162 properties throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area, principally in north Minneapolis. They would then resell the property within a few weeks to an “investor” who would purchase the property, sight unseen, at a price set by Helgason and Balko without negotiation, oftentimes $20,000 to $60,000 more than the TJ Group had paid.

According to the plea agreements, people were told by Helgason and Balko that the investors were simply “lending” their credit to TJ Waconia. In exchange for “lending” their credit, the investors would receive a kickback payment of about $2,500 and a promise of an additional payment after two years when the TJ Group was to repurchase the property from the investor.

Through the scheme, the defendants perpetrated a fraud on the lenders who were led to believe that the “investors” were the actual owners of the properties, when, in fact, the “investors’” ownership was in name only. During the two-year period during which the investor owned the property, the TJ Group was responsible for all payments and maintenance on the property. In some instances, Helgason and Balko also provided investors with funds to pay the buyer’s portion of the property purchase price and worked with others to provide lenders with false loan applications on behalf of the investors so that they would qualify for the loan, according to the plea agreements.

The two men, on behalf of the investors, obtained approximately $35 million in mortgage proceeds to purchase the properties from the TJ Group. Ultimately, the scheme collapsed, and the TJ Group did not repurchase the properties or continue making payments to the investors in order to pay their mortgages. The investors were left owning properties with mortgages that exceeded their property’s market value.

At the sentencing hearing held today, Minneapolis City Council President Barb Johnson and Mike Christienson, Director of the Minneapolis Department of Community Planning and Economic Development both testified regarding the significant impact suffered by the city and the community as a result of the fraud.

This case was the result of an investigation by Federal Mortgage Fraud Task Force, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Dixon.