Blaine Murphy bought more than 200 homes in Cuyahoga County over the last six years, but as far as investigators call tell, he never visited a single one.
Now the wholesale buyer and seller of blighted houses may soon pay Cleveland a visit.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason announced Wednesday that the 43-year-old Florida man has been indicted on charges of forgery, tampering with records, mail fraud, telecommunications fraud and money laundering.
Murphy is accused of using an alias and a company not registered to do business in Ohio to buy and sell dozens of foreclosed houses. He left the houses to rot, prosecutors say, and owes more than $700,000 in property taxes.
“Murphy is an example of a single germ that multiples exponentially on spoiled foods,” Mason said.
But Mason said that instead of food, Murphy has spoiled the county’s housing market. Murphy was arrested Dec. 23 at his home in Naples, Fla., and is in jail there awaiting extradition.
Attorney Larry Zukerman said the charges are ludicrous.
“They’re basically saying that my client caused the downfall of the economy in the city of Cleveland,” Zukerman said.