Real Estate Law
Have Real Estate Law Questions? Ask a Real Estate Lawyer.
Hi, Terry, My name is XXXXX XXXXX my goal is to provided you with Excellent Service, but I need a bit more information first, if you do not mind,
1. How did this individual put title to your property in his name ?
'2. Do you know this individual ?
3. In what amount was the mortgage loan ?
4. How did you find all of this out ?
1. The Rivertown Financial Investment Firm went into a lease back program with me. I paid rent for 18 months and was to pay back the money I received at the end of the term. In the Interim they found a straw buyer named Denton Freidman and fraudaulently forwarded information to CitiMortgage and the deed was transferred into Freidman's name.
2. I did not know him until the NYS Attorney General's office contacted me and told me that my husband and I were one of hundreds of people that were victims of fraud.
3. The original amount of the mortgage loan was 214, 500 with CitiMortgage. CitiMortgage sold the loan to PennyMac. PennyMac is looking for me to Assume the mortgage at a reduce figure of $198,000 +/-
4.NYS Attorney General's Office in April of 2008.
Hi, Terry, Thank you for your additional information,
You were defrauded by these people and there is no reason why you should have to repay a mortgage loan thatyou did not even benefit by. There might be a solution here. CitiMortgage does not extend mortgage loans unless the "owner" buys title insurance to insure the first mortgagee's position as first lienholder. Therefore, if Citi Mortgage required the straw party to buy title insurance for the mortgagee (lender), Citi Mortgage can make a claim through their Mortgagee policy of title insurance, recoup their money from the title company because Citi Mortgage was defrauded out of their money and they would not look to you for repayment. And, you would not have to pay any loan back to CitiMortgage on behalf of the straw party.
Please be kind enough to rate Excellent Service" so that I receive credit for assisting you,
Bonus and Positive Feedback on survey is very much appreciated,
The straw buyer worked for the lease back company that defrauded me. To make matters worse the attorney involved worked within the lease back company and the Title Insurance Co. which was owned by them as well. CitiMortgage sold the loan to PennyMac and they are taking the same position of the "victim". The benefit I received from the lease back was far less than what PennyMac is looking for me to assume. I know I don't have to pay back the loan because it is not mine, but I don't want to lose my house either. what can I put in place to stop the foreclosure process?
It does not matter that Citi Mortgage sold the mortgage because the new owner "steps into the shoes" of Citi Mortgage and can assert the same rights that Citi Mortgage could assert. Therefore, they, too, can make the same claim with the title insurance company. If the title company does not pay the claim, they can sue the title company.
The only thing that will stop a mortgage foreclosure is a Petition in Bankruptcy, but that is only a temporary measure. Your best option is to assert the fraud that was perpetrated against you.
What if the title insurance company is now closed? Here is an article from The Post in 2010 which may give more details.
Kevin Wheatley, 37, of Waterford, NY; Geoffrey Goldman, 34, of Albany, NY; and his brother Jonathan Goldman, 28, of Newburgh, NY are among five individuals identified to be involved in a massive mortgage fraud scheme in which the group used the title agency they owned, Griffon Title Agency, to further the scheme.
Prosecutors allege that the co-conspirators used a business owned by Geoffrey Goldman, Rivertown Investments of Colonie, NY, to defraud various lenders, homeowners, and title insurance companies. Co-conspirators acting on behalf of Rivertown allegedly lured distressed homeowners into signing title over to the company by promising to lease the homes back to the distressed homeowner, with a promise that the homeowner would be able to regain title in the future, and that equity built during the lease period would be saved for the homeowner.
Once Rivertown had title to the properties, straw buyers under the control of the scheme's masterminds would purchase the properties from Rivertown, obtaining fraudulent mortgages with false statements inflating the straw buyers' incomes to finance the sham transactions. The straw buyers would then quickly sign their deeds over to a holding company in Rivertown's control. Griffon Title was used to facilitate the transactions involved in the scheme, concealing the true nature of the transactions from lenders, homeowners, and their title underwriter.
Rivertown entered lease-back agreements on 105 properties in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey between 2003 and 2008, with purchase prices of homes reaching more than $2.6 million. Authorities say that Rivertown did not hold up its end of the bargain on many of the properties, and that many former homeowners were ultimately evicted or were not able to repurchase their homes as specified in their agreements with Rivertown.
Meanwhile, the co-conspirators allegedly used the ill-gotten proceeds of the scheme to finance such items as trips to Europe and the Caribbean, vehicles, jewelry, a wine locker, and gambling sprees at casinos.
Wheatley, an attorney who was disbarred in 2002 but reinstated in 2005, is the only alleged scheme member who has been arraigned. The others, including the Goldman brothers; Jordan Laccetti, 30, of Saratoga Springs, NY, a loan officer employed by Rivertown; and Jessica Peryea, 27, a real estate broker also employed by Rivertown, have yet to be indicted and have reportedly agreed to give statements against Wheatley.
Do you still feel that CitiMortgage's succesor should go after the Title Insurance Co.? If so, what is my next step?
If the title company was owned by the parties that perpetrated the fraud, then nobody can make a claim through the title company.
You, Citi Mortgage and its successor were the victims of a scam. You were not involved, you did not receive any of the proceeds of the mortgage loan; therefore, you cannot be held responsible for repayment of the loan. If Citi's successor forecloses on the mortgage, your defense would be that you were the victim of a scam in the same way that Citi Mortgage was, that you never received the proceeds of the loan, that you were not part of the scam, and that Citi's successor would have to take the loan as a business loss, just as Citi would have had to take the loan as a business loss. The botXXXXX XXXXXne is that innocent parties caught in the middle of fraud are not made to pay a loss caused by scammers.
So what I got out of this latest response is that PennyMac should be taking this bad mortgage as a business loss? They have already stated to me that just because the deed is in my name doesn't mean I have a legal hold over them. They will foreclose and in the same documents request a quieted deed. Or am I still misunderstanding what you are communicating to me?
Yes, Terry, they have to take it as a business loss. They should have investigated the entire transaction before they bought the loan from Citi. They did not do their homework and now they are looking to minimize their losses by having an innocent party pay their business loss. The mortgage that Citi took as security for the repayment of the loan they made was no good, pure and simple. So, the mortgage loan that they sold to the present holders is still no good. It was fraudulent from the very beginning. Transferring it to several people down the line is not going to make it less fraudulent. They are just trying to scare you into paying for their failure to do their homework.
And, to prove to you that they do not know what the heck they are doing, they cannot combine a foreclosure action with an Action to Quiet Title that they said they would bring.
If they file a Complaint in Mortgage Foreclosure against you, you must absolutely file a counterclaim against them for malicious prosecution, abuse of process and seek treble damages against them because they do not have a legal leg to stand on. Please be kind enough to leave a positive rating so that I can receive credit for researching all your questions and furnishing you with Answers to each of them. It does not cost you anything additional, but it makes a difference to me because without a positive rating I receive no credit at all for my time and effort in assisting you. Thank you for understanding,
I am going to wait out the mortgage company to re-file the Foreclosure Action (which I am fairly confident they willl do) but I am eager to know if there is Case Law in NY that I can use when I file a counter claim against PennyMac for Malicious Prosecution? I want to be as prepared as I can. Do you practice law in NY with situations such as this? And could you be retained as councel if I needed you?
We are not permitted to do any legal research because it comes too close to practicing law over the internet and that jeopardizes our license to practice law. So, unfortunately, I cannot look for any case law for you, Please accept my apologies,
Educator: Follow up question: There was a "Discussion"
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).