In spite of his fame or infamy, depending on who you talk to, Eric Byrnes was able to keep a pretty low profile. He was driving through Meridian Township when he saw a car in his rearview mirror. The vehicle had no discernible markings. However, he suspected that it was an unmarked police car from any one of the three law enforcement agencies looking for him.
The journey in his red sedan ended in the Meridian Mall parking lot. However, the trail he left behind was much longer than the short police pursuit. It included promissory notes, bad checks, past convictions, and a one-year stint in jail back in 1999.
Allegations of fraud are not new to Byrnes. Charges go back to 1999 when fraudulent car sales ensnared two auto businesses and at least three investors. He served one year in jail for that crime.
Since that time, Byrnes’ criminal record has been clean. In spite of police reports taken between 2013 and 2015, no charges were pursued. Frustrated lenders turned to civil courts and filed lawsuits in Ingham County.
Apparently, during his “hiatus,” Byrnes branched out into the house-flipping profession.
Overall, his “tab” includes approximately $1 million in restitution orders and civil judgments that encompass four Michigan counties. Victims of his purported swindles include a business owner, financial adviser, car salesman, and even a neighbor. To date, no one has received full restitution.
Currently Byrnes faces charges of three felony counts of false pretenses of $50,000 to $100,000 and four counts of $1,000 to $20,000. An additional count of uttering (knowingly using a forged document) and publishing was added a month later.
Byrnes is expected to appear in court next on July 13. According to his attorney, they are involved in discussions and negotiations with the prosecuting attorney. Perhaps, they are hoping to put this matter in another rearview mirror.