Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Closing Attorney Found Liable In Civil Suit For Role In Sale Leaseback Peddling, Equity Stripping Ripoff Targeting High-Equity, Low Cash Homeowners

In Marblehead, Massachusetts, The Salem News reports:

  • A suspended Marblehead attorney has been ordered to pay a $70,000 civil penalty and barred from working as a closing attorney or title agent in any real estate transaction, as a result of his role in a fraudulent foreclosure "rescue" scheme, the attorney general's office announced [].(1)

  • James Alberino, who also received a separate 18-month suspension from practicing law last January, was found by a Suffolk Superior Court judge to have "knowingly and willfully engaged in unfair and deceptive conduct."

  • Judge Janet Sanders found, after a trial, that Alberino, 60, who had a law office in Salem, had acted as the closing attorney on two "sham" property transfers, concealing the true nature of the transfers from lenders he represented. The state Supreme Judicial Court also cited a third "sham" transaction by Alberino in its order last January that suspended him.

  • The scheme was orchestrated by a mortgage broker, Leo Desire Sr., who ran a company called Primary Mortgage Resources, prosecutors said. According to court papers, the scheme, called The Trust Program, solicited homeowners facing foreclosure and unable to obtain a refinance by proposing that they transfer their property into a newly created trust in the name of a "straw" buyer.

  • The homeowners were told they could "temporarily" transfer title to their homes to the straw buyer chosen by Desire, and were also told they would actually be made beneficiaries of the trust and would be allowed to remain in their homes while they rebuilt their credit enough to obtain new financing and buy their house back.(2)

For more, see Attorney liable in mortgage fraud.

For the Massachusetts Attorney General press release, see Marblehead Real Estate Attorney Found Liable for Facilitating Illegal Foreclosure Rescue Scheme (Banned from Acting as Closing Attorney in Real Estate Transactions).

(1) It may be that Alberino's victims in this racket could seek reimbursement for some of their losses due to his handiwork from the Massachusetts Clients' Security Board of the Supreme Judicial Court, which manages and distributes monies in their recovery fund to members of the public who have sustained a financial loss caused by the dishonest conduct of a member of the Massachusetts bar acting as an attorney or a fiduciary. Go here for Case Summaries for Claims Decided by the Massachusetts Clients' Security Board of the Supreme Judicial Court.

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.

(2) The target here should feel fortunate that criminal charges weren't brought against him. Not all participants in these sale leaseback rackets share the same good fortune.

See, for example, Sale Leaseback Equity Stripping Peddler 'Scores' Guilty Verdict In Equity Stripping Ripoff; Grand Larceny, Scheme To Defraud, Conspiracy, Says Jury.

See generally, Criminal Prosecutions Of Sale Leaseback Peddlers In Equity Stripping Foreclosure Rescue Deals.

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