Millionaire Pleads Not Guilty to Illegal House Flipping
Blaine Murphy looked every bit the part of a millionaire as he sat in the Cuyahoga County jail Thursday morning, awaiting arraignment on a 16 count indictment for illegally flipping 235 houses in northeast Ohio.
The FBI tracked the accused conman down at his million dollar home on a Naples, Florida golf course back in December of 2011.
Federal authorities said he had a boat and a plane parked nearby.
After weeks of fighting extradition, Murphy, 43, asked through his lawyer that Cuyahoga County taxpayers pick up the tab for plane fare so Murphy could make his first court appearance in Cleveland.
Murphy also requested that all miles be credited to his frequent flyer account.
Instead,he was made to pay for his own extradition costs, as well as airfare for the two sheriff’s deputies who flew to Florida to pick him up.
Prosecutor Bill Mason said Murphy hid behind phony names like Bryce Peters, III, and Martin J. Franks while forging deeds and other documents related to properties in 14 Ohio counties, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Texas.
“In total, 96 of the properties he laid his hands on fell into tax foreclosure for a total delinquency of $1,000,000,” said Mason after Murphy’s arrest in December.
Mason called the accused “an example of a germ that multiplies exponentially on spoiled food.”
“This truly is a warning shot to all of those who thought they could get rich at [the] neighborhood’s expense,” said Cleveland Councilman Jay Westbrook, following Murphy’s arraignment.
“I never thought this day would come,” said Councilman Tony Brancatelli, in whose ward Murphy allegedly worked some of his schemes.
The prosecution asked that Murphy be made to live in one of his condemned properties while awaiting trial.
The request was denied and bond was set at $1,500,000.
Murphy was ordered to surrender his passport and all licenses.
He pled not guilty to all charges against him.