Long Island Mortgage Scam

In March of this year, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice arrested seventeen people pursuant to a two-year investigation involving a $20 million dollar mortgage fraud scam. Homeowners of Nassau County and banks lost more than $20 million dollars pursuant to the scam.

The individuals involved were lawyers, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, bank employees, financial consultant, an appraiser and a United States postal worker. Twenty nine homes were fraudulently purchased during the six year period. The homes all went into foreclosure. Fake buyers and fake sellers were involved in the transactions.

Identity Theft

Celso Benalcazar, a forty-nine year old Bronx mechanic, had his identity stolen. After his identity was stolen, two homes were purchased in his name. The ring leaders of this scam were James R. Sweet and Dwanye Benjamin, both of Westbury, New York. They recruited friends and family members to obtain false identities. They then impersonated buyers and sellers. As a result of these fake transactions, they kept all of the proceeds from the mortgages. Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice stated, “at the closing everything was fake except for the money that was stolen.”

One Home Purchased Twice

A home in West Hempstead was purchased twice during a two week period in 2005. A $390,000 mortgage was taken out each time the home was purchased. All the funds from both transactions were stolen.

The accused in this case faced up to twenty-five years in prison. There are numerous pending criminal charges, including violating the New York State Organized Crime Law, money laundering and conspiracy.

New York and Long Island Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you are being investigated with regard to a crime, or either you or a loved one is charged with a crime, we can help you. For more than 45 years, the Law Office of Elliot S. Schlissel has represented individuals charged with all types of misdemeanors and felonies. We defend clients who are charged with drug offenses, domestic violence, shoplifting, burglary, driving while intoxicated (DWI), weapons possession, sex crimes, white collar crimes and all types of violent crimes. We also represent juveniles in both the Criminal Courts and the Family Courts. Call us for a free consultation at 516-561-6645, 1-800-344-6431 or 718-350-2802.

Foreclosure Scam by the Rich and Well Connected

Avoid Foreclosure Scams

The foreclosure rate in the United States is at an all time high. There are unscrupulous individuals who are using the foreclosure crisis to take advantage of homeowners who face the loss of their homes in foreclosure proceedings. A variety of scams exist. These scams cause further problems for homeowners. The following are a list of the types of scams that should be avoided:

1. Businesses that advertise with fliers placed in your mailbox or solicit door to door. There are various agencies that represent to homeowners facing foreclosure that they can help them. However some of the solicitations from these foreclosure help agencies not only do not help you in the foreclosure but further scam you out of your hard earned money.

2. You should review documents before you sign them. Sometimes the unscrupulous agencies advise the homeowner they need them to sign documents to authorize the agencies to negotiate for new payments plans with their financial institutions. Some of these documents actually surrender the title (deed) to your house in exchange for “rescue” loans. Do not sign any paperwork unless you have read it carefully or had it reviewed by an attorney that does foreclosure defense work!

3. Be careful about rent to buy programs. There are scam artist out there that will have you send a rental check every month to them. They will claim that they are
negotiating with your mortgage company regarding a refinance. However these rent to buy program scam artists keep your rental money and do not send the funds to your financial institution. Be careful not to sign any documents that deal with the title or deed to your house. Your home should remain in your name! The scam artists will sometimes tell homeowners that by giving up the ownership to your home you can obtain a better credit rating and secure new financing down the road. This is a lie!

4. Hire duly licensed attorneys who handle foreclosure defense cases. The world if full of lawyers. Some lawyers do divorces, some lawyers do car accidents case and some lawyers have experience in handling foreclosure defense. Make sure you are dealing with a licensed attorney in your state that handles foreclosure defense work. Attorneys who have experience handling real estate transactions do not necessarily have the experience to handle litigation involving financial institutions. Choose your attorney carefully!

5. If you have been scammed contact your local bar association for assistance. Local bar associations can provide you with a list of attorney’s that can help you with foreclosure defense and assist you in dealing with problems related to mortgage foreclosure scams.

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