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Mission Impossible: Securing Almost 2 Million Dollars From a Convicted Felon to Payoff Claims Owed to Commercial Lender

In the life of a title litigator, you want to be challenged and have interesting cases where you are asked to use your best skills to prevail.  We were delighted to be told that this claim required the most aggressive, street-smart law firm on the Fortune 500 companies attorney list and we could not feel more proud.  But we also must have been shell-shocked to be excited about trying to be heroes by collecting almost two million dollars from an unemployed convict with no savings and zero job prospects—or so that was what we were led to believe.

The Hunt Began

The title company had insured a commercial lender who had been swindled by a convict who had served jail time for theft and mortgage fraud, among other crimes.

Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. was retained to seek recovery from a borrower, Adam Hochfelder, who had defaulted on loans obtained from a major commercial lender. Judgment was entered in 2008 for $1.76 million dollars.

Hochfelder, a highly successful real estate deal maker, was convicted of defrauding multiple lenders, including our client. The Supreme Court determined that he held a valid interest in half of a luxury apartment owned by Hochfelder’s then-wife, pledged as security for the client’s loans. The apartment is occupied under a life estate interest by Hochfelder’s former father-in-law.

After the assignment, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. did voluminous background research into Hochfelder’s activities and potential assets, including the issuance of thirty information subpoenas to Hochfelder’s employers, associate, and family and governmental entities.  We coordinated with the Office of the New York County District Attorney regarding documents in Hochfelder’s criminal cases.

During a later asset investigation, Adam Leitman Bailey served an additional thirty information subpoenas and analyzed thousands of pages of evidence.  Based on our findings, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. conducted investigative interviews and depositions of business associates, family members, and Hochfelder himself.

As a result of Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s investigation and the pressure it exerted, Hochfelder sought to negotiate an agreement under which the client would have recovered $1.4 million.  However, following Adam Leitman Bailey’s advice, the client instead directed Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. to suspend its collection efforts and opted to wait for the termination of the life estate of Hochfelder’s former father-in-law.

His father-in-law’s health report, combined with his age, and Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s ability to obtain numerous documents securing eventual title to the apartment worth more than the claim, made it the better decision for the lender monetarily.

Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s exhaustive efforts in researching, investigating, and negotiating in the Hochfelder case played a crucial role in securing a potential recovery of $1.4 million. The decision to stand down collection efforts temporarily, as advised by Adam Leitman Bailey, aims to ensure an even higher monetary recovery for the client.

Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. was represented by two former prosecutors led by Partner Colin Kaufman, a senior associate in the investigation phase of the case, and by both Adam Leitman Bailey and Colin Kaufman during litigation and negotiations.

Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. was retained by the title company to seek recovery of any eventual payout to the commercial lender on a set of loans to the convict and his wife, on which they defaulted in 2007. Judgment was entered in 2008 for $1.76 million dollars.  The last deposition between Adam Hochfelder and Adam Leitman Bailey occurred in early 2023.

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