Barber Headed Back to Fayetteville for Monday Hearing

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Former Northwest Arkansas developer Brandon Barber will appear Monday at a bond revocation hearing in U.S. District Court in Fayetteville, according to a report published Friday.

The report, in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, indicates probation officer Craig Robie recommended Barber be arrested and his bond be revoked. Barber, who lives in New York, currently faces 27 federal charges — ranging from bank fraud to money laundering — and is scheduled for trial in U.S. District Court in Fort Smith on June 17.

Robie’s recommendation, according to the newspaper report, stems from April 25, when Barber reportedly met with girlfriend Kristen Foodim, then went to an Italian restaurant to talk to Pasquale Martinelli. Martinelli is a chef and operations manager of the restaurant, the report said.

Also according to the report, Robie believes the meeting was in violation of conditions restricting Barber’s movement ordered by U.S. Magistrate Judge Erin Setser during an April 15 arraignment. Setser placed Barber under home detention and ordered him to wear a GPS monitoring device.

Setser also instructed Barber to limit time away from his residence to work, family and religious activities. Martinelli said the meeting was held to discuss the possible purchase of insurance, but Robie said it was held without permission and outside previously established time constraints, thereby prompting Barber’s Wednesday arrest.

Barber, 37, and a native of Jonesboro, said on April 15 he is employed by The Hotaling Group Insurance Services. Company founder, president and CEO Bobby Hotaling later wrote in an email to the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal that Barber is a “hard-working guy that always seems to put in 1,000 [percent] effort.”

If his bond is revoked, Barber could be jailed until his trial. Barber posted a $500,000 bond, secured by $50,000 cash, after being arrested in New York in March, according to court documents.

Earlier this year, a grand jury in Fort Smith returned two indictments alleging several schemes by Barber and four co-defendants to defraud banks, creditors and the federal bankruptcy court. The alleged actions took place between 2005 and 2009.

According to the Democrat-Gazette report, Barber now is under home incarceration until he can be transported to Fayetteville. In a brief filed Thursday by Barber’s attorney, Asa Hutchinson III, the current restrictions prevent Barber from seeing his two children outside his home, and should be replaced by “a reasonable curfew.”

Barber’s 10-year-old son, Sloan, has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, according to the filing. It also said Barber “is a devoted father to his two children and is heavily involved in their lives, providing particular attention to his son with special needs.”

In a supporting affidavit, Barber’s ex-wife, Keri Chambers, said he is “a great father and loves his children very much.”

“He is a very significant part of their lives and has been a great parenting partner with me,” she continued. “It is extremely important to the children, especially Sloan, and to Brandon as well, that he continues to be a constant part of their lives.”

Chambers also cited her children’s “very strong relationships” with Foodim’s two children as a reason to relax Barber’s current restrictions.

“Brandon has told me he and Kristen Foodim, who lives with him, intend to marry soon,” Chambers said in her affidavit.