Monday, March 20, 2017

NYC Feds Score Extradition Of Fugitive Pinched By Ukrainian Cops; Defendant Allegedly Ran Scheme That Used Offers Of Loan Modification Help To Target, Then Trick, Financially Desperate Homeowners Into Signing Away Title To Their Homes

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (New York City):
  • Preet Bharara, the [now-former] United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, [among other federal and state officials], announced [on March 10] the extradition from Ukraine of HERZEL MEIRI, who was indicted on March 16, 2016, on fraud and money laundering charges in connection with a scheme to fraudulently induce distressed homeowners to sell their homes to a company he owned and controlled. MEIRI, who arrived in the District yesterday, had been arrested by Ukrainian authorities on October 27, 2016.
    U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Herzel Meiri allegedly concocted a callous scheme to swindle desperate homeowners out of their homes. As alleged, Meiri lied to his victims, who thought that they were getting the financial help they needed but instead were being tricked into signing over their homes.
    According to the allegations in the Fourth Superseding Indictment, which was unsealed in November 2016, as well as the Complaints previously filed in this action[1]:

    Since at least 2013, MEIRI and his co-defendants have defrauded distressed homeowners throughout the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. MEIRI and others falsely represented to these homeowners – some of whom were elderly or in poor health – that they could assist them with a loan modification or similar relief from foreclosure that would allow the homeowners to save their homes. But rather than actually assisting these homeowners, the defendants deceived them into selling their homes to Launch Development LLC (“Launch Development”), a for-profit real estate company owned and controlled by MEIRI.

    MEIRI and others lured victims through Homeowners Assistance Service of New York (“HASNY”), which purported to provide assistance to homeowners who were seeking to avoid foreclosure of their homes. As part of the scheme, MEIRI directed employees of Launch Development to solicit owners of distressed properties and invite them to meet with HASNY representatives so that they could learn more about avoiding foreclosure and saving their homes.

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