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Brokers and Family Members Steal From Elderly Woman in a Straw Man Transfer: Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. Achieves Successful Outcome for Title Company

A title company turns to Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. for help when it is faced with a claim in which family members and brokers stole the home of an elderly lady.

Facts: An elderly woman owned a home in Queens. The elderly woman’s niece, in alleging she had the power to transfer property as the guardian, transferred the deed to the premises to a straw man cousin for a purchase price of $525,000. The cousin took out two mortgages ($420,000 and $105,000) in purchasing the premises, both insured by policies of title insurance. At the closing, over $100,000 in checks was made payable to the niece as guardian of the elderly woman, which money the elderly woman received. Another $100,000 in checks, however, was written to companies with seemingly no connection to the transfer and, even more suspect, was not accounted for on the HUD. The policies insured against defects on the passing of title from the niece as guardian of the elderly woman to the cousin.

Problem: The cousin defaulted on the mortgages, and the bank commenced a foreclosure proceeding. The elderly woman, who still lives in what she thought was her home, received notice of foreclosure and immediately moved by order to show cause to enjoin the bank from foreclosing. The elderly woman claims that her niece never had the authority to sell the property and, therefore, the elderly woman is the true owner.

Solution: The title company turns to Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. for help. Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s litigation group, in lieu of engaging in costly motion practice, immediately strategized potential settlements to pacify all parties and relieve¬†the title company from all obligations. Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. ultimately designed a settlement in which: (1) the straw man cousin will deed the property back to the elderly lady in exchange for a release from liability, (2) the elderly lady will pay back the bank any money she received from the transfer in exchange for having the title restored back to her, and (3) the bank will release the title company from any and all potential obligations because the bank would rather accept a return of the monies received by the elderly lady immediately than wait for the close of a litigation. The elderly lady can later decide whether she wants to go after the individuals at the closing (broker, family members, etc.), who stole proceeds and/or took excessive fees, however this is done after the title company is exited from the claim.

Colin Kaufman, Jackie Halpern Weinstein, and Adam Leitman Bailey represented the client in this matter.

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