Release Joel J Virtue from Prison


My brother, like many others Americans, invested in real estate more than a decade ago. His bank came to him and offered his company millions in mortgages to buy foreclosed or vacant homes. He and a partner took out millions in mortgages. In 2008, the collapse of the market caused panic and the government wanted to prosecute someone. The bankers and mortgage brokers had teams of lawyers, and even though they had pushed these junk mortgages on buyers and then repackaged the subprime loans in top rated packages, they were not an easy target.

Federal Prosecutors were zealous to prosecute thousands of small business owners around the country for taking out the sub prime loans. These buyers were also victims of the banks, because they lost everything they owned.

Before the years of investing in real estate, my brother was a hard working family man. He started several businesses, served in leadership in a church, and helped the needy in his community whenever he could.

After the economic collapse in 2007, he lost everything he owned. His family moved out of their nice home to a mobile home in rural northern Minnesota. He began to work with the poorest of children and teenagers in Lake of the Woods County. Eventually, he started the Pioneer Youth Center in Baudette, MN. Out of an old nursing home they served meals to hungry kids, provided clothing, showers, and computer stations for homework, as well as a warm dry place to hang out and be safe.

He was shocked when he was investigated and was convinced by the court appointed attorney and the prosecutor to plead guilty to one charge and be given probation. Just before the sentencing, Joel was told his business partner had all charges dropped but now Joel was not being offered probation but would have to serve 5 years.

Joel has a son Jonathan. Jonathan is nearly 23 years old, has never talked, has to be diapered, fed, and bathed. He has chronic seizures and needs near constant attention as his seizures happen more when he is too hot or too cold. Joel had provided much of the care for Jonathan ,and the prosecutor had indicated that worst case scenario was that Joel would be given house arrest out of compassion and concern for his son’s well being. That, too, was withdrawn at the last minute.

Joel has served over 4 months and there is no end in sight.

Currently, he is also suffering medical conditions caused by the cold turkey withdrawal of medication for his heart, chronic pain, and nerve damage. He has difficulty sleeping. He has lost significant weight. He is a shadow of what he was just a few months ago.

Please rectify this injustice not just for Joel J. Virtue and his son, but for other American citizens who trusted their bankers, mortgage brokers, and realtors and now are paying for the bankers’ crimes.

Release Joel J. Virtue and expunge his record.