Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Trio Of "Legal Eagles" Among "Dirty Dozen" Bagged By Brooklyn DA In Unrelated Alleged Real Estate Swiping Scams

In Brooklyn, New York, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports:

  • Real estate fraudsters and rogue attorneys exploiting “a new breed of crime” were targeted Thursday by Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes at a press conference announcing several recent mortgage fraud cases in Brooklyn. Hynes’ office has indicted 12 people for real estate crimes allegedly committed over the past several years, and as Hynes pointed out, several of the white-collar fraudsters were attorneys or otherwise close to the court system.


  • In one case, attorney Alan Rocoff is accused of blatantly stealing profits from the auction of a foreclosed church(1) that he was handling as court-appointed referee. Before dying in 2008, Pastor Robert Booker Sr. spent years in court trying to get back $218,000 in profits from the sale of the foreclosed church, which Rocoff auctioned off for $300,000 in 2005.


  • [In a second alleged scam,] One senior citizen and Marine Park homeowner, Jean Kemp, received a phone call in October 2009 demanding that she pay off the mortgage on her property. She thought it was unusual, since Kemp and her husband paid off their mortgage in 1987. “My house has always been my house!” said Kemp, a former banker. After reporting the strange call to state Sen. Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn), who was at the press conference, Kruger’s attorneys discovered that a new $225,000 mortgage had been filed on the house by suspects Jarret Haber, an attorney, and Victor Koltun, both now charged with grand larceny.

  • Another [alleged] scam, involving a property in Borough Park, was allegedly committed by former attorney Alexander Landy, who was only a member of the bar from 2003 to 2006 before resigning over charges that he stole client funds. Landy allegedly got a $500,000 mortgage from Washington Mutual to buy the property in question. However, he ran the title agency responsible for filing the deed and mortgage, but did neither, and later sold the building without paying Washington Mutual.

For more, see Rogue Attorneys Indicted in Mortgage Scandal.

See also, Kings County District Attorney press release: Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, New York State Senator Carl Kruger And United States Senator Charles E. Schumer Announce Charges Against 12 People, For Real Estate And Mortgage Fraud.

(1) Some refer to this maneuver as "stealing the surplus." The "surplus" refers to that portion of the proceeds from a foreclosure sale over and above the funds needed to pay off what is owed to the mortgage lender initaiting the legal action. The surplus legally belongs to the foreclosed property owner, subject to any claims of subordinate lienholders, and assuming that neither of the following has already occurred:

(2) At the risk of nauseating regular readers of this blog with this continual reminder, for those who have been screwed out of their money and property by reason of the dishonest conduct (as opposed to careless or incompetent conduct, which doesn't qualify) of their attorneys licensed throughout the U.S. and Canada, and seek to recover some or all of the stolen loot, see:

Maps available courtesy of The National Client Protection Organization, Inc.

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