The Real Deal Miami

Developer falls victim to cleric’s scam

January 26, 2009 11:54AM

Paul Murphy, the aspiring developer of a luxury condo tower called
Regalia, thought he’d found a heavenly source of funding amid the
credit crunch. The arrival of Father Barney Canada, who
ran Providence Funding, a self-proclaimed faith-based commercial lender
headquartered near the University of Notre Dame, appeared to be a
conduit to the $150 million the veteran developer required. Murphy
wired over $300,000 in application fees and personally delivered boxes
of supporting documents to Canada’s office in downtown South Bend, Ind.
Records show Canada used his priestly routine to take upward of a million dollars in fees from developers in Florida and elsewhere. Not a single loan has closed, and none of the
applicants knew that Canada had been incarcerated twice in the 1990s
for running “advance fee” lending scams that defrauded businessmen.