Local Men Face Charges in Barber Case

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A federal fraud indictment landed former Springdale businessman Brandon Barber in the news again this week, less publicized were three others also named in the grand jury proceedings.

Brandon Barber faces 27 count of fraud involving several Arkansas banks and one in Missouri.

Barber managed the Springdale-based Barber Group for five years.

Barber's attorney, K. Vaughn Knight, faces 11 counts money laundering and fraud, the maximum penalty being 140 years in prison and $4 million in fines.

We tried talking with Knight at his Fayetteville office, but he declined to comment.

Brandon Rains of Springdale, also indicted, was a project manager for the Barber Group. He faces one count of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

In 2007, Rains was named one of the 40 intriguing business and political leaders under 40 years in the Northwest Arkansas Journal.

According to the indictment, Jeff Whorton, owner of Whorton Construction of Northwest Arkansas, made several real estate purchases with Barber. He faces one count of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

Barber, Rains and Whorton are accused of getting loans for real estate higher than the actual purchase price.

The indictment says the excess cash was divided among the three.

Barber’s offices used to be on Old Missouri Road, a building that housed several other tenants.  Barber owned the building.

Barber sold this property to Whorton Construction of Northwest Arkansas for $1.65 million.

First Federal Bank of Harrison lent Whorton $2.1 million for the property, $450,000 more than the actual purchase price, according to indictment.

Barber's house which was also sold to Whorton was listed in the indictment.

All four Northwest Arkansas men will be in court April 15th at the federal courthouse in Fayetteville.