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|Posted April 15, 2007|
THE OFFICE OF MASSACHUSETTS ATTORNEY GENERAL MARTHA COAKLEY
ATTORNEY GENERAL COAKLEY FILES LAWSUITS AGAINST INDIVIDUALS AND BUSINESSES INVOLVED IN FORECLOSURE RESCUE AND MORTGAGE FRAUD RING
|April 12, 2007|
|CONTACT: Emily LaGrassa/Melissa Sherman|
BOSTON- Yesterday, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office requested a judge to issue preliminary injunctions against nineteen individuals and companies, allegedly involved in mortgage fraud and a foreclosure rescue scheme, to stop them from unfair and deceptive business practices. These individuals were named in two separate lawsuits that AG Coakley's Office filed on March 30th in Suffolk Superior Court as part of a continued effort to uncover predatory conduct in mortgage brokering and lending in the Commonwealth. A hearing on the suit and the request for preliminary injunctions was scheduled for yesterday afternoon. "These defendants, many of whom were professionals, preyed on vulnerable homeowners facing foreclosure to deceive them out of their home and their life savings," AG Coakley said. "With the number of foreclosures increasing daily, this type of mortgage fraud is particularly troubling and we will take aggressive action to ensure that this predatory conduct does not continue in Massachusetts."
The first of the two lawsuits filed alleges a foreclosure rescue scheme. The suit was filed against 19 defendants:
o Leo Desire, Sr., a salesperson who works on behalf of Primary Mortgage Resource, Inc.
o Primary Mortgage Resource, Inc., Mortgage Broker and where Desire Sr.'s worked.
o James Alberino, Robert Marks, Valerie Hanserd, all closing attorneys.
o Universal Plus Realty & Financial Services Inc. and Home Pride Management, companies who took fees for unrendered services.
o Leo Desire Jr., President and Treasurer of Home Pride Management.
o Robin Hayes, sole officer, owner and director of Universal Plus Realty & Financial Services Inc.
o Dr. Joel Charles (d/b/a Sourie Corp.)
o Louis R. Joseph, Pierre N. Joseph and his wife Daphne Mompoint, Robens Joseph, Paul A. Joseph, Jean N. Joseph, Advie Charles, Neville Francis and Marie Betey Mereus, all property buyers.
The first of the two suits filed alleges that the defendants participated in a foreclosure rescue scheme targeted at desperate homeowners facing foreclosure. Each of the defendants allegedly conspired through their respective roles to deceive homeowners into selling their homes under the false promise avoiding foreclosure and maintaining their homes. The defendants not only obtained the title to the homeowner' residences but also stripped most of the homes' equity though inflated mortgages, false fees for fictitious services and false certifications by closing attorneys. In certain cases, the defendants resold the homes amongst themselves, thereby extracting any remaining equity.
Homeowners victimized by the foreclosure rescue scheme include: a Roxbury pastor who lives with his wife and two children; a Natick patent attorney; a Brighton nurse who lives with her teenage son; a Mattapan woman who lives with her two teenage children; a Methuen woman who lives with her four children; and a disabled Dorchester nurse who lives with her husband. According to the complaint, the defendants misled the consumers about the nature of the transactions, defrauded them out of their equity, absconded with the homeowners' money, and forged homeowners' signatures on checks payable to homeowners. As a result of the defendants foreclosure rescue scheme, homeowners were ultimately left destitute, facing foreclosure and eviction.
The Attorney General's Office is seeking a court order to prevent the defendants from evicting homeowners or selling properties obtained through foreclosure rescue schemes, and from operating as mortgage brokers, real estate brokers, and closing attorneys. AG Coakley is also seeking restitution for homeowners harmed by the defendants' conduct, civil penalties, and reimbursement of the costs of investigating and litigating this case.
In a companion case also filed on March 30, the Attorney General's Office alleges that Leo Desire Sr., Primary Mortgage Resource, Inc. and Valerie F. Hanserd, together altered a deed from the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (a.k.a. "Freddie Mac"). Freddie Mac intended to transfer a residential two-family house in Revere to Leo Desire for $305,000, and prepared a deed to such effect. The defendants, however, altered the deed by changing the purchase price of the property from $305,000 to $475,000, and by changing the name of the grantee from Leo Desire to a "straw buyer," Gloria Avila. The defendants made these changes over the existing signature of Freddie Mac, and without Freddie Mac's knowledge or approval. The defendants also provided an inflated appraised value of the real property; thereby obtaining a mortgage loan from a third party, Argent Mortgage Company, in a sum which is greater than the property value supports; they fabricated a HUD Settlement Statement to reflect the fictitious purchase price and fictitious disbursements; and the defendants allegedly shared in the proceeds of the larger mortgage loan.
The Attorney General's Office, in the companion case, is seeking to prevent defendants Leo Desire and Primary Mortgage Resource, Inc. from acting as mortgage brokers, and to prevent defendant Valerie Hanserd from acting as a closing attorney or settlement agent in connection with real estate or real estate financing transactions in the Commonwealth.
In Suffolk Superior Court yesterday afternoon, the Attorney General's Office requested preliminary injunctions against all 19 defendants to stop transactions already in process from going forward and to ensure there are no new victims. Judge Allan van Gestel took the request under advisement and is expected to issue a ruling on Tuesday, April 17, 2007.
Other consumers who believe they may have been victimized should contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline at 617-727-8400.
These cases are being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Stephanie Kahn, Pam Kogut, and Jean Healey of AG Coakley Consumer Protection Division.
© 1999 - 2007 · Massachusetts Attorney General's Office
RELATED TEXT: Haitian nationals, others, including Andre Lamerique, face up to 20 years in federal prison, if convicted of mortgage fraud counts
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