Businessman Robert Shumake comes to court - but not alone
Who is that all these big guys are protecting from Rob Wolchek's cameraman? A movie celebrity? A rock star? No, it's Robert Shumake, the defendant in a criminal case.
Rob Wolchek: "Robert would you like to say anything? In an effort to be fair?"
Member of Shumake's entourage: "Don't push me, don't push me."
Wolchek: "We're trying to talk to Robert. Would he like to say anything?"
Member of Shumake's entourage: "To a real journalist, certainly."
Wolchek: "Well I'm here."
Speaking of real, Robert Shumake has been charged with 18 real criminal counts and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says what he did is real low.
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Schuette says Shumake was behind a scheme to cheat people who were trying to save their homes from foreclosure. Wolchek interviewed a bunch of them when he exposed Shumake back in 2010.
They said they had hired a company called Mortgage Auditors of America for help. Wolchek filled a studio at FOX 2 with people who had paid close to $2,000 each. But when they went back to the business, they found out its doors were closed.
The money trail lead Wolchek to businessman Robert Shumake who ran away from Wolchek when he tried to talk to him.
Eventually he sat down and admitted he was the boss of Mortgage Auditors of America.
"I invested in the company, hired presidents, CEOs, chief operation officers, national sales directors, everyone to run and manage the company," Shumake said.
But Robert Shumake claimed his company didn't rip anyone off.
"I started this business to help people to stay in their homes. I learned a lot of different things," he said.
Wolchek: "But these people are losing their homes so you didn't help them."
Shumake: "No, we've helped a ton of people."
Wolchek: "Well you didn't help these people."
Shumake: "We've helped tons and tons of people"
The attorney general's office investigated and recommended a warrant for Shumake's arrest in 2015 but Robert Shumake was in Africa.
After filing for personal bankruptcy to the tune of more than $3 million, Shumake was busy posting on Facebook about his African humanitarian work and even turned up on the Tanzanian TV news as an American investor who ran a railroad.
Then. last year he was caught in California with $121,000 cash in his trunk and large sums of marijuana. He's got an active arrest warrant in that case.
But Shumake was picked up here in Michigan on warrants regarding the mortgage auditing business Wolchek first told you about in 2010.
Now, before his pretrial hearing Shumake arrived surrounded by muscle.
Wolchek: "Robert what do you have to say, (is your) past catching up with you?"
Wolchek: "Oh my God, what are you like Suge Knight now or something? Some kind of big celebrity?"
Shumake attorney: "Remember those statements. You all heard all of that right?"
Wolchek: "Robert would you like to say anything in an effort to be fair?"
Member of Shumake's entourage: "Sir, can you move out of the way please? We need to get to court."
Shumake makes it safely to Judge James Alexander's courtroom where his attorney asks for and is granted a continuance for a month.
After court, the sideshow continues with Shumake's protectors linking arms to block Wolchek.
Wolchek: "Why are you guys doing this?"
A smug Shumake leaves the courthouse but Wolchek has one more question.
Wolchek: "Why are you guys trying to protect him? You know he's accused of taking money from people in the city of Detroit who were trying to refinance their houses."
Shumake faces two felony counts of obtaining money under false pretenses and 16 misdemeanor counts of violating the credit services act.
He entered a plea of not guilty and said in a statement through his attorney that "The charges are baseless and he expects to be completely exonerated once the facts are presented in court."
Shumake will be back in court April 26.