Former Alderman Charged With Wire, Bank Fraud
By Ben Hall
HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. – A former Hendersonville alderman faces 30 years in prison after being charged with embezzling more than $2 million.
In 2008, 40-year-old Christopher Forsythe lived in a multi-million dollar home in Sumner County and ran Forsythe Title and Escrow.
NewsChannel 5 Investigates first reported about Forsythe four years ago.
He was elected city alderman and was generous with his money.
The federal indictment accuses Forsythe of taking money people gave to his company to close on their homes, and spending it on himself.
"I want him to look me straight in the face and say this is what I did with your money," said Mechele Neal in an interview from 2008.
Neal was stuck paying two mortgages after she refinanced her home loan and gave Forsythe's title company a check for $243,000.
He was supposed to pay off her previous loan, but he never did.
"Who has my money? That's what I want to know. Where is it?" she asked in frustration.
In late 2008, a judge shut down Forsythe's company.
It took investigators years to pour through stacks of documents to find out what happened to more than $2 million in missing money.
More than four years later, the U.S. Attorney has filed charges against Forsythe for wire and bank fraud.
"We have made fighting financial fraud a top priority," U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin said.
Martin said his office has focused on white collar crime, and it did not matter that Forsythe was a former alderman with a good reputation.
He said people like Mechele Neal need to be confident they are not being ripped off.
"This case, I think, sends a clear message that it won't be tolerated in Middle Tennessee," said Martin.
All of the homeowners who lost money have been repaid through an insurance company.
Forsythe recently appeared in federal court and pleaded not guilty to the charges.