Tuesday, December 20, 2016

84-Year Old Retiree On Verge Of Getting The Boot From Home Of Four Decades After Ponzi Schemer Fraudulently Scores $400K+ Mortgage Secured By Victim's Home, Fleecing Him Of Life Savings

In Wilton Manors, Florida, The Miami Herald reports:
  • Kenneth Tuch lost his life savings to a Ponzi scheme. Now the 84-year-old retiree is losing the Wilton Manors home where he’s lived for 42 years.

    Tuch says a bank foreclosed on him because of a mortgage taken out on his home by a convicted Ponzi schemer. The Broward County Sheriff is set to evict him on Jan. 6. Tuch doesn’t know what to do with his lifetime of possessions. Because of his ruined credit, he can’t find a new apartment.

    “I’m going to be out on the street,” said Tuch, as he sifted through the reams of paper in his living room that he says prove he was the victim of fraud — despite a judge in foreclosure court siding with the bank.
    ***
    In 2006, Washington Mutual cut a check for $447,840 with Tuch’s home as collateral — but it wasn’t made out to Tuch. A copy of the check shows it was paid to International Consultants & Investment Group Limited Corp., the Fort Lauderdale-based company [Ponzi schemer George] Elia used to conduct his Ponzi scheme.

    A draft copy of the application for the loan is rife with mistakes. The form lists Tuch as an employee of International Consultants with 20 years of experience as a financial consultant. (He worked as an engineer at AT&T for 38 years.) It says he made $10,000 per month, when in fact his pension and Social Security amount to $1,600 per month. And it said his home was built in 1975, not 1954, as is stated in Broward County property records.

    I didn’t even know the loan had gone through,” said Tuch, who obtained the documents after being served with a foreclosure notice in 2014. It was the first time he realized the loan had gone through.

    “By then WaMu was closed down,” he said. “And J.P. Morgan Chase bought WaMu. I knew that happened. So I went down to Chase. I played dumb. I said I lost all my papers. And they printed everything out for me. And I see that check. And the check is made out to Elia’s company. And I didn’t see a penny of it. I almost had a heart attack.”

    All the while Elia, not Tuch, had been making monthly payments on the loan, bank records show. International Consultants paid $1,584.42 per month to the bank. Those payments stopped on Dec. 1, 2011, according to court records, the same month that panicked investors went to the FBI to report Elia, and about two months before he fled for Cyprus.

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