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Real Estate & Property Law

The Home Equity Theft Reporter The Home Equity Theft Reporter

Welcome to The Home Equity Theft Reporter, a blog dedicated to informing the consumer public and the legal profession about Home Equity Theft issues.
By r morris

Post Frequency: 74.1/day

Last Entry: May 22, 2015 at 10:02:01

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Another Lawyer Files Bankruptcy, Faces Possible Disbarment On Heels Of Getting Tagged By State Authorities For Running Bogus Foreclosure Rescue/Loan Modification Racket; Scam Targeted Poor Latinos

Posted on May 22, 2015
In Boston, Massachusetts, <b><i>The Boston Globe</i></b> reports:<br /><ul><li>The <b><i><a href="http://www.mass.gov/mcad/" target="_blank">Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination</a></i></b> ["MCAD"] has <b><i>found that a Revere lawyer specifically targeted Latino clients for home loan modification services that he promised would save them from foreclosure,</i></b> but pushed some of them further into financial peril...

NY AG Scores Default Judgment In Civil Suit Against Bogus, Now-Bankrupt Foreclosure Defense Attorney Who Clipped Homeowners Throughout Country For Monthly Fees In Exchange For Worthless Forensic Audits, Mortgage Cancellation Services, Etc.; Outfit Falsely Implied It Had Nationwide Presence & Connections w/ State AGs, Feds

Posted on May 21, 2015
From the Office of the New York Attorney General:Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman [] obtained a default judgment in New York County Supreme Court against two law firms and their lead attorney for participating in a fraudulent mortgage rescue scheme...

East Hampton Billionaire Homeowners Temporarily Dodge Bullet As Town Agrees (After Being Roped Into Federal Court) To Three Week Delay In New Airport Rules That Threaten To Kibosh Their Helicopter Commutes In/Out Of NYC & Ruin Their Summer (Just In Time For Memorial Day Weekend!)

Posted on May 21, 2015
In East Hampton, Long Island, Bloomberg reports:Some of New York?s wealthiest will be able to start their summer this weekend with a helicopter ride to a favorite eastern Long Island vacation spot.The Town of East Hampton agreed to delay new rules on noise limits that would have sharply curbed access to the town?s airport as a federal judge weighs a challenge to the restrictions...

Title Insurer's Failure To Read, Properly Interpret Probate Order Leads To Security For Lender's $416K Mortgage Loan Being Limited To Life Estate In Home; Both Left Holding The Bag When Borrower Died As Remaindermen Come Forward, Claiming Free & Clear Title To Collateral

Posted on May 20, 2015
The following facts have been adapted from a recent California Appeals Court ruling:In 1965, Lawrence Peterson (Lawrence) and his first wife acquired title to a home in Culver City, California..In 1985 (some twenty years later), Lawrence acquired sole title to the home by a quitclaim deed...

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Shameless Bankster Fails (But Nearly Succeeds) In Attempt To Invoke Statute Of Limitations To Establish Viability Of Its Mortgage Based On Forged Deed; BoA Nearly Gets NYS Courts To Set Aside Over A Century Of Case Law In Close Call

Posted on May 19, 2015
Legal Issues:forged deeds,void ab initio (meaning a legal nullity at its inception) vs. voidable,effect upon real property of of encumbrances (ie. mortgages, etc.) based on a forged deed,inapplicability of New York's recording statute (NY Real Property Law 291) to a forged deed,inapplicability of the statute of limitations (CPLR 213 (8) [NY Law]) to foreclose a claim against parties (ie...

HOA Lawsuit Accusing Property Manager Of Looting $228K From Homeowners' Coffers Triggers Criminal Probe

Posted on May 18, 2015
In Hollywood, Florida, WPLG-TV Channel 10 reports:A property manager at a 100-unit condominium on Hollywood Beach embezzled $228,000 from unit owners during a two-year period, according to a lawsuit filed by residents.The Hollywood Police Department is also criminally investigating the allegation that Kristin Glansen, 35, diverted large sums of money from The Waterway at Hollywood Beach into bank accounts she controlled, the city confirmed...

Failure To Timely Record Medicaid Assistance Lien Leaves State Social Service Agency Holding The Bag; Filing Lien After Aid Recipient's Death Fails To Attach To Latter's Real Property Interest Since Title Passed To Kids Immediately Upon Demise

Posted on May 17, 2015
From an Opinion Summary from Justia US Law:The Department of Social Services (DSS) provided Medicaid benefits to Darlene Hollman while she was in a nursing home. Hollman had an interest in real estate at the time, but DSS did not record a lien on the property for the benefits it had provided until after Hollman died...

East Hampton Billionaire Homeowners Under Attack As New Rules Threaten To Restrict Their Noisy Helicopter Commutes To Work Into Manhattan To Once A Week; 'High Fliers' May Now Be Relegated To Using Seaplanes Or, Worse, Limo Service, Subject To Traffic Jams

Posted on May 16, 2015
In East Hampton, Long Island, the The Real Deal (NYC) reports:Manhattanites, accustomed to making their commute to the Hamptons by helicopter, make a ?desperate plea? this week to stop changes to the East Hampton Airport.The group asked for a temporary restraining order to prevent restrictions that would limit helicopters to one flight a week to or from the East Hampton Airport, according to the New York Post...

Federal Appeals Court: Bill Collection Racket Where Ohio AG's Office Authorized Private Attorneys To Use Its Letterhead To Scare People Into Paying Debts Owed To The State Violates FDCPA

Posted on May 15, 2015
From Public Citizen's Consumer Law & Policy Blog:The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion [last] Friday holding that private attorneys under contract with the Ohio attorney general?s office to collect debts owed to the state improperly used the office?s letterhead to scare debtors into paying...

Shoddy Construction A Continuing Problem For Some Newly-Minted NYC Condos?

Posted on May 14, 2015
In Brooklyn, New York, The Real Deal (NYC) reports:While developers are swiftly breaking ground on new projects all over Brooklyn and taking advantage of high property values, the quality of their buildings might be suffering. As more residents move into the newly built construction, some worry that mistakes from the last housing boom ? shoddy construction, bringing substandard product to the market ? are being repeated, according to the New York Times...

Condo Owners In Swanky, Multi-Million Dollar Park Avenue Apartment Building Say Developer-Installed, Faulty Insulation Has Led To Mold Invasion

Posted on May 13, 2015
In New York City, the New York Daily News (via The Real Deal - NYC) reports:There?s no better way to ruin a Park Ave. palace than with hoards of pesky mold.Wealthy residents of an uber luxe condo building along Park Ave.?s gold coast have filed suit against its developer, claiming the company installed improper insulation resulting in the growth of mold throughout the property...

Florida Property Owner Coughs Up $235K+ In Back Taxes, Interest, Penalties After Getting Bagged By Local Real Estate Taxing Authorities For Fraudulent Homestead Exemption Claim On Rental Property

Posted on May 12, 2015
In Sarasota, Florida, the Sarasota Herald Tribune reports:A Siesta Key investor, who had fraudulently claimed a homestead tax break on rental property, has paid more than $235,000 to satisfy government liens.It was the largest lien for homestead exemption fraud ever processed by the Sarasota County Property Appraiser?s Office, the agency said Friday...

S. California Entrepreneur Pinched For Allegedly Lying To Bankster To Score Fraudulent Short Sale; Conveniently Failed To Disclose He Just Sold His Business For $7.5M+ Prior To Seeking OK To Unload Underwater Home For Less Than Mortgage Debt, Leading To $586K Lender Hit: DA

Posted on May 11, 2015
From the Office of the Orange County, California District Attorney:The former co-owner of the clothing brand RVCA is scheduled to be arraigned [] for committing short-sale fraud of his home and causing a total loss of over $500,000 to the lender.Conan Hayes, 40, Topanga, is charged with one felony count of grand theft with a sentencing enhancement allegation for property loss over $200,000...

91-Year Old Ex-Opera Singer Gets To Go Home, Scores Release From 'Involuntary Detention' In Nursing Home By Defying Order & Serenading Judge In Open Court; Daughter & Attorney Say Sneaky Landlord/Developer Made Anonymous Complaint To City Social Service Agency In Push To Have Senior Granny-Snatched Out Of Her Rent-Controlled Pad Where She's Lived Since 1960

Posted on May 10, 2015
In New York City (where else???), the New York Post reports:She got her home back for a song.A 91-year-old former Broadway singer who was declared incompetent and tossed into a nursing home was returned to her Greenwich Village apartment ? after wowing a Manhattan judge with her vocal talents...

Use Of Testers Posing As Prospective Renters Leads To Another Landlord Agreeing To Cough Up Cash To Settle Housing Discrimination Allegations; Families w/ Kids Were Segregated In Certain Buildings & Restricted To Certain Floors, Apartments In 224-Unit Complex: Feds

Posted on May 09, 2015
From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Boston, Massachusetts):The U.S. Attorney?s Office and the Justice Department [] announced an agreement with J & R Associates, the owner and operator of the Royal Park Apartments in North Attleboro, Mass., to resolve allegations of discrimination against families with children in violation of the Fair Housing Act...

Nevada Judge Hammers Loan Modification Scam Artist With 8-20 Years In Slammer Over $11.5K Ripoff Of Handful Of Homeowners Facing Foreclosures

Posted on May 08, 2015
From the Office of the Nevada Attorney General:Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt announced that Stephen Choate, 62, of Pahrump, was sentenced last week on a charge of a pattern of mortgage lending fraud. Choate ran a scam to defraud clients of $11,500 in fees under the guise that he would obtain loan modifications for them...

Attorney Who Used Boiler Room Racket Disguised As Sham Law Firm To Victimize Over 3,000 Homeowners In Loan Modification Ripoff Gets 12 Years In Federal Slammer; Cohort Gets 5 Years; Conviction Total Reaches 13 In 1st American Law Center Scheme

Posted on May 07, 2015
From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (San Diego, California):Two defendants were sentenced [] for their roles in defrauding more than 3,000 homeowners across the nation through a sham law firm in Oceanside, California.Dean Gregory Chandler, the former President, Chief Executive Officer, and attorney for the company, 1st American Law Center, was sentenced to 144 months...

Now-Disbarred Lawyer Gets Two Years For Forging & Recording $1.4M In Phony IRS & Mortgage Lien Releases On His Two Houses, Then Applying For Loans Secured By The Homes

Posted on May 06, 2015
From the <b><i>Office of the U.S. Attorney</i></b> (Boston, Massachusetts):<br /><ul><li>A Boston area attorney, who was disbarred in 2007 after practicing law for more than three decades, was sentenced to federal prison [] for tax and bank fraud violations...

WV Woman Who Fell Behind On House Payments Now Faces Up To Five Years For Creating & Submitting Phony Documents In Court In Attempt To Save Home From Foreclosure

Posted on May 05, 2015
From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Martinsburg, West Virginia):Amanda Bishop, 35, of Martinsburg, was convicted [] in federal court after she submitted fraudulent mortgage documents during court proceedings, United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced...

Dozen California DAs Succeed In Gaining Order Of Publication Of Unpublished State Appeals Court Decision Upholding Felony Convictions Of Crackpot Who Hijacked Ownership Of Nine Vacant Homes & Homesteaded Them; Prosecutors Say Ruling Contains Significant Points Of Law That Will Benefit Courts, Parties In Future Cases Of Title Clouding By Recording Bogus Title Documents

Posted on May 04, 2015
In Southern California, Metropolitan News Enterprise reports (actually, the story came out in August, 2013, but its still merits noting here):A Court of Appeal decision upholding convictions of a man who fancied himself a Robin Hood, in turning over unoccupied homes he didn?t own to people in need of shelter, contains significant points of law, according to 12 prosecutorial offices that succeeded in gaining an order for publication...

Woman Cops Plea To Fraudulently Scoring $135K+ In Section 8 Housing Subsidies By Purporting To Be A Low-Income Tenant In A Building She Owned; HUD Duped Into Sending Rent Checks To A Fabricated Landlord

Posted on May 03, 2015
From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Boston, Massachusetts):A Boston woman pleaded guilty [] to stealing over $135,000 in public housing benefits, which she obtained by lying about her living situation and employment. Astride Dubuisson, 42, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to an Information charging her with stealing public money...

Complaint Filed w/ Fair Housing Feds Alleges That Twin Cities' Policies Limit Affordable Housing Developments In "High-Opportunity, Majority-White Communities" & Steer Them To "Low-Opportunity, High-Poverty" 'Hoods In Violation Of Fair Housing, Civil Rights Acts; Advocates Want HUD To Squeeze Municipalities, Threatening To Stiff Them Out Of Ten$ Of Million$ In Federal Community Development Money Unless Policies Change

Posted on May 02, 2015
In Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, MinnPost reports:A civil rights attorney based in Washington, D.C., thinks he has the method for forcing changes in how and where St. Paul and Minneapolis locate low-income housing.Michael Allen did not file a lawsuit against the cities and their joint Housing Finance Board...

Civil Rights Feds Tag City Of Fort Worth With Discrimination Lawsuit Alleging Violations Of FHA, ADA For Barring Use Of 4-Bedroom House As An 8-Person, Post-Treatment, Addiction Recovery Group Home; At Issue Are City Land Use Regulations & Failure To Grant Zoning Variance As A Reasonable Accommodation In Area Currently Residential-Zoned Permitting Up To Five Unrelated Persons Per Home

Posted on May 01, 2015
From the U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.):The Justice Department [] filed a lawsuit against the city of Fort Worth, Texas, alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, charges that Fort Worth discriminated against persons with disabilities based on its treatment of a group home for persons recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, including the city?s failure to grant a reasonable accommodation to the owner of the group home...

Antitrust Feds Squeeze Two More N. California Investors Into Deals To Plead Guilty For Their Roles In Bid Rigging Racket At Courthouse Real Estate Foreclosure Sales; Suspects Bagged Now At 54 & Counting

Posted on April 30, 2015
From the U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.):Two Northern California real estate investors have agreed to plead guilty for their role in bid rigging and fraud conspiracies at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Northern California, the Department of Justice announced...

Staten Island Man Gets Seven Years In Loan Modification Racket; Admitted He Tricked Two Homeowner/Couples Into Believing He Successfully Renegotiated Their Home Mortgage Terms, Then Duped Them Into Turning Over The Monthly Payments To Him For Remittance To Lenders; Scammer Illegally Pocketed Over $185K

Posted on April 29, 2015
From the Office of the Monmouth County, New Jersey Prosecutor:A Staten Island man was sentenced [] to seven years in a New Jersey state prison for stealing more than $187,000 from a pair of homeowners over a 33-month period, announced Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J...

Toledo Feds Pinch Pair For Allegedly Clipping Homeowners For $1M+ In Loan Modification Racket; Suspects Allegedly Made False Promises To Trick Victims Into Making Monthly House Payments To Them, Then Pocketed The Cash Instead Of Applying Proceeds Toward Mortgages In Foreclosure

Posted on April 28, 2015
From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Toledo, Ohio):Two Toledo-area men were indicted for wire fraud related to stealing more than $1 million from hundreds of people through a fraudulent loan-modification scheme, said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio and Stephen D...

Billionaire Banker Recovers $2.75M Deposit On 5th Avenue Apartment After Being "Shocked" Into Backing Out Of Purchase Contract By Rogue Co-op Board; HOA's 11th Hour Declaration That Buyer Would Not Be Entitled To Exclusive Use Of Penthouse Terrace Despite Provision In Governing Docs To The Contrary Dictated Return Of Money: State Appeals Court

Posted on April 27, 2015
In New York City, the <b><i>New York Post</i></b> reports:<br /><ul><li>A billionaire banker is about to get a few million dollars richer.<br /><br />A Manhattan appeals panel ruled that Peruvian banking magnate Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor <b><i>should get back the $2...

Northern California Municipality Accused Of Unlawfully Applying Land Use Regulations To Nix Proposed High-End Substance Abuse Rehab Center; Action Amounts To Discrimination Against Prospective Tenants In Recovery From Drug, Alcohol Addictions In Violation Of Fair Housing, Americans With Disabilities Acts: Suit

Posted on April 26, 2015
In San Mateo County, California, Half Moon Bay Review reports:The owners of a Kings Mountain retreat center are suing San Mateo County in federal court, claiming it violated mandates to protect persons with disabilities by denying their proposal to turn it into a high-end rehabilitation center...

Alleged Use Of Overly Restrictive Land Use Regulations/Zoning Ordinances Preventing Group Homes For Developmentally Disabled From Operating In Residential Areas At Issue In HUD Fair Housing Complaint Filed Against Village Of Bloomingdale, Illinois

Posted on April 25, 2015
From a recent press release from Little City Foundation & HOPE Fair Housing Center:Local organizations, Little City Foundation and HOPE Fair Housing Center, have filed a federal civil rights administrative complaint against the Village of Bloomingdale, Illinois with HUD?s Office of Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity...

Jury Slams Bankster w/ $2M Verdict On Behalf Of Illinois Homeowner For Violating RESPA, State Consumer Fraud & Deceptive Business Practices Act

Posted on April 24, 2015
From a press release issued by the law firm Sulaiman Law Group, Ltd.:Alena Hammer secured a jury verdict against Residential Credit Solutions, Inc. (RCS), a national mortgage loan servicer headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, for its breach of contract, violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), and violations of the unfairness and deception provisions of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act...

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