Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wisconsin Attorney Pinched In Alleged Foreclosure Surplus Snatching Scam; Illicitly Scored $542K In Unclaimed Net Proceeds On 43 Sales: Investigators

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Wausau Daily Herald reports:

  • A Brookfield attorney is accused of stealing $542,000 in unclaimed foreclosure funds by falsely claiming that he represented the rightful owners, prosecutors in Milwaukee County said Wednesday.

  • Thomas E. Bielinski, 52, was charged Tuesday with theft of at least $10,000 by fraud. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $25,000 fine. He is scheduled to make an initial court appearance on Wednesday.

  • According to the criminal complaint, Bielinski targeted mortgage-foreclosure cases in which the owners of surplus funds had failed to file claims for the money. Prosecutors said he claimed that he represented the owners, filed claims on their behalf and kept the money.

  • In a five-year period, he filed 47 fraudulent claims and got paid out on 43, according to the complaint.


  • Prosecutors said Bielinski had crafted what amounted to an elaborate identity-theft scheme. They accused him of forging claimants' signatures and notary stamps, and then covering his tracks by removing the subsequent court documents from official files.

  • Authorities executed a search warrant on Bielinski's home last month. They said they found a list of civil cases in Milwaukee County Court that included the dollar amount of unclaimed funds and handwritten notes identifying people who were dead.

  • Investigators contacted the people in whose names Bielinski had collected money. Although some were dead, others weren't and generally said they did not know they were owed any surplus funds. None of them knew Bielinski or had hired him to represent them.

For the story, see Brookfield attorney charged with stealing $542,000.

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