Friday, September 2, 2011

Westchester DA: Pair Used Escrow Acct. Holding Clients' Home Refi Proceeds As Personal 'Piggy Bank;' Alleged Scammer's Elderly Dad Among Those Screwed

From the Office of the Westchester County, New York District Attorney:

  • From April 2009 to June 2009, operating under the home mortgage closing company Settle One Corporation, with an office located at 428 Main Street in Armonk, New York, the defendants, Loronda Murphy and real estate attorney Scott Forcino, engaged in what amounted to a home mortgage fraud "Ponzi" scheme.(1)

  • The targeted homeowner/victims each took out a new mortgage on their home through Settle One Corporation with the understanding that real estate attorney Scott Forcino would oversee their closing and that money from their new mortgage would pay off their pre-existing mortgage.

  • However, Forcino instead allowed Murphy to fraudulently assume the role of attorney for each closing, and, much to the homeowner's surprise, rather than paying off their pre-existing mortgage, Murphy instead stole portions of their new loan money and left their pre-existing mortgage unpaid.(2)

  • Murphy's theft then left the homeowner with the unsustainable burden of having multiple mortgages on their family home at one time. Over this time period the pair defrauded five victims including Murphy’s father.

  • In addition to skimming money out of the Settle One Corporation bank account for her own personal benefit, Murphy also attempted to conceal her crimes by using money left in the Settle One bank account to make monthly mortgage payments on various unpaid mortgages and, in some cases, Murphy even stole one homeowner's new mortgage loan money and used it to pay off another homeowner's previously unpaid mortgage.

  • In the three months, beginning in April of 2009 and ending in June of 2009, Murphy orchestrated the preparation and submission of a series of false mortgage documents in connection with five mortgage loan closings that resulted in her, through the Settle One bank account, receiving over one million dollars from two home mortgage lenders: Wells Fargo Bank and Live Well Financial.

  • In turn, Murphy then stole over fifty thousand dollars in loan money from each of five Westchester County homeowners, including her own elderly father, all for her own personal financial gain and to cover up her continuing criminal activity.

For the Westchester County DA press release, see Former North Castle Republican Chairwoman Indicted For Mortgage Fraud.

(1) According to the press release, a nineteen count indictment against Loronda Murphy charges her with:

  • one count of Residential Mortgage Fraud in the First Degree, a class “B” Felony,
  • one count of Residential Mortgage Fraud in the Second Degree, a class “C” Felony,
  • five counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, class “C” Felonies,
  • ten counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, class “E” Felonies,
  • one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class “E” Felony,
  • one count of Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree, a class “A” Misdemeanor.

In addition, a three count indictment against Scott Forcino charges him with:

  • one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class “E” Felony,
  • one count of Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree, a class “A” Misdemeanor,
  • one count of Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree, a class “A” Misdemeanor.

(2) To the extent attorney Forcino is found guilty of playing a role in this ripoff and fails to cough up restitution, The Lawyers’ Fund For Client Protection Of the State of New York may find itself being asked by the victims to step up and cover at least some of the losses they suffered. The Fund exists to protect legal consumers from dishonest conduct in the practice of law in the state, to preserve the integrity of the bar, to safeguard the good name of lawyers for their honesty in handling client money, and to promote public confidence in the administration of justice in the Empire State. It attempts to secure these goals by, among other things, reimbursing client money that is misused in the practice of law.

For similar "attorney ripoff reimbursement funds" that cover the financial mess created by the dishonest conduct of lawyers licensed in other states and Canada, see:

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

No comments: