Cape man suspected of felony stealing in sale of home

Friday, September 22, 2006

A Cape Girardeau house foreclosure netted the seller a payout of $47,000 more than he was owed, leading to charges against the man when he refused to pay back the difference, officials said.

Evan S. Batterton, 24, of 520 S. Sprigg St., was charged Wednesday with felony stealing.

At the closing of his deceased grandmother's home Aug. 6, Batterton was handed a check for $54,374.80 from a legal secretary of the Lichtenegger Law Firm, who was handling the closing, the statement read.

The next day, Batterton asked the secretary to break down the single check into three worth $1,000, one for $1,374.80 and one for $50,000, which she did.

The secretary was unaware that the home was under foreclosure and Batterton owed about $47,648.98 to GMAC Mortgage Co. She should have only presented him a check for $6,735.82. During the closing, Batterton never made mention of his outstanding mortgage debt, according to the statement.

When GMAC called the secretary Aug. 25 to ask why they never received the mortgage payoff, she discovered her error and contacted Batterton to return the $50,000 check. While Batterton said he would bring the check back Aug. 28, he failed to do so and never returned messages, the statement read.

A Cape Girardeau County sheriff's officer called Batterton Sept. 14 and told the defendant he was investigating him for felony stealing.

Batterton told the officer the investigation was a civil and not a criminal matter, and denied knowing there was a mortgage on the home, according to the statement.

But the buyer of the home told the officer that Batterton said he wanted to sell the home because it was in foreclosure and he owed the mortgage company $47,000, the statement read.

Bond for Batterton was set at $50,000 cash only, and he was still being sought as of Thursday afternoon.

335-6611, extension 127

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