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Embattled Dallas Developer Charged In Federal, Civil Court For Allegedly Spearheading A $26M Scam

A Dallas developer faces life in prison after allegedly scamming more than 100 Chinese investors out of $26M.

Timothy Lynch Barton, president of JMJ Development and CEO of real estate investment firm Carnegie Development, was indicted on seven counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of securities fraud when he appeared in federal district court earlier this week. The charges carry a combined maximum sentence of 180 years.


Prosecutors claim Barton convinced a group of Hangzhou-based investors to spend millions of dollars on home lots in what he described as highly sought-after areas of the Metroplex. The investors were promised two years of interest payments, followed by a return of their initial investment at the end of the second year, according to a news release from the Northern District of Texas’ U.S. Attorney’s office.

Barton told investors he had partnered with builder Stephen T. Wall and Chinese businessman Michael Fu to purchase the properties for eventual development. The district court alleges the cost of each property was inflated by as much as 195%, and in some cases the properties were never purchased at all.

Investor funds were allegedly used to pay commissions — a breach of the initial loan agreement — as well as expenses related to other projects. Some early investors were repaid interest using funds from later projects, prosecutors allege.

Barton was not immediately available for comment.

Earlier this week, the embattled developer also lost a bankruptcy court battle surrounding development of a 2-acre site in Turtle Creek, where he planned to build the Mandarin Oriental, a $395M luxury hotel and condo tower. That property is not involved in Barton’s federal fraud proceedings, according to the Dallas Business Journal. 

Barton, Wall and Fu have also been charged in civil court by the Securities and Exchange Commission. All three are accused of violating antifraud provisions.

JMJ has yet to break ground on several hospitality and residential projects at various locations, including a master-planned, mixed-use development in Frisco, a 24-story apartment tower in San Antonio and a slew of single-family home developments across Texas.