Thursday, September 29, 2011

WPB Cops Pinch Now-Disbarred Title/Closing Attorney For $800K+ In Real Estate Escrow Account Ripoffs

In West Palm Beach, Florida, The Palm Beach Post reports:

  • A disbarred Wellington attorney defrauded clients out of more than $800,000 while representing them in real estate transactions,(1) West Palm Beach police said. Christian N. Scholin, 45, was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail Tuesday night after being charged with grand theft, organizing a scheme to defraud and practicing law while disbarred or suspended.

  • Scholin's alleged actions date back to 2004, when he was operating International Title Company of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, a probable cause arrest affidavit stated.

  • According to the affidavit, Scholin represented a woman living in Finland with the sale of her Lake Worth home in May 2004. The house closed for $800,000, and she was due $733,125. Scholin allegedly deposited the money into a Wachovia account and made several payments from the account to the client. But $468,000 was not delivered and instead was deposited into another bank account, the affidavit stated.

  • Scholin's actions led to his suspension from practicing law in October 2009, and he was disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court in July 2010, the affidavit stated. During his suspension, Scholin represented another woman during the attempted short sale of a Royal Palm Beach townhouse. The closing occurred in February of 2010, with the woman and a buyer from Finland believing that $245,158.66 in unpaid principal had been negotiated by Scholin and satisfied by the short sale.

  • The buyer wired $74,000 to Scholin, the affidavit said. But Scholin did not use the money to satisfy his client's mortgage and kept it instead, the affidavit said. The woman's home went into foreclosure, causing a judgment against her in the amount of $277,790, according to the affidavit.

Source: Disbarred Wellington attorney charged with defrauding clients out of $800,000.

(1) The Florida Bar's Clients' Security Fund was established to reimburse clients who have suffered a loss due to misappropriation or embezzle­ment by a Florida-licensed attorney.

For similar "attorney ripoff reimbursement funds" that sometimes help 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: