Friday, July 07, 2017

Queens DA: Paralegal Used Employer's Law Firm To Develop Side Business Peddling Loan Modification Services To Unwitting Attorney's Clients; Leads To Alleged Ripoff Of $80K In Two Separate Cases, Failing In Attempt To Pilfer An Add'l $44K

From the Office of the Queens County, New York District Attorney:
  • Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, joined by New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) Superintendent Maria T. Vullo, today [June 21] announced that a 40-year old paralegal formerly employed at a Jackson Heights law firm has been charged with stealing $80,000, and attempting to steal an additional $44,000, by claiming that he could help one of the firm’s clients and another homeowner in distress and in danger of foreclosure with loan modifications on their mortgages.

    District Attorney Brown said, “Unbeknownst to his employer, the defendant allegedly developed a side business in which he told clients of the law firm that he could help them with modifying mortgage loans on properties that they owned and oftentimes met with them at the law firm. Instead of helping people with their mortgage problems, the defendant is accused of helping himself to their money, stealing tens of thousands of dollars. Even after he was fired from the law firm, he allegedly continued his scheme by meeting with a distressed homeowner at various fast food locations around Queens County.”
    The District Attorney identified the defendant as Hyun Do Kim, also known as Billy Kim, 40, of Whitestone, Queens.
    District Attorney Brown said that, according to the criminal charges, Kim was employed as a paralegal at a Jackson Heights law firm between September 2009 and April 2012, and that during this time he told clients of the law firm that he could help them with loan modifications – which was not within the scope of his employment at the law firm.

    In one instance, it is alleged that a client met with Kim for a loan modification on his Flushing property and was told that he should pay Kim with cash on a monthly basis – instead of paying his mortgage – and that Kim would forward the money to the mortgage company as part of the loan modification process.

    In furtherance of his alleged scheme, Kim provided the client with copies of the purported checks he sent to the mortgage company as receipts, as well as a receipt written on the law firm’s stationery and signed by Kim and stamped in the name of the firm’s lawyer. However, a review of those checks allegedly revealed that they were never mailed to the client’s mortgage company and that the account from which they had been written was closed in 2009.

    Additionally, the firm’s attorney stated that Kim did not have permission or authority to issue a receipt to the client on the firm’s stationery as the firm was not involved in any loan modifications made on behalf of the client and his property. Further investigation allegedly revealed that Kim did not initiate or engage in a loan modification for the client despite having been paid more than $70,000 by the client between March 2010 and July 2012.

    Additionally, it is charged that in September 2015, a 69-year-old homeowner in danger of foreclosure contacted Kim about a loan modification for a propertythat he owned with his 73-year-old aunt in Bayside, Queens. It is alleged that Kim told the two property owners to make payments to his company, JC Financial of NY, instead of sending payments to their mortgage company and that he would send the monies to the bank as part of the loan modification process. The two property owners allegedly paid Kim more than $10,000 between September and October 2015 for the loan modification which he never completed for them. It is further alleged that the Bayside house was foreclosed upon during the time the property owners were paying Kim and that the house was sold at auction.

    Finally, according to the criminal charges, while the loan modification was purportedly pending on the Bayside property, Kim offered the 69-year-old client assistance with a second Queens house that he owned. It is alleged that Kim provided the client with a fax cover sheet that was purportedly from a Westbury, Long Island, law firm, which acted as a debt collector, and which directed the client to make an initial payment of $44,000 via certified check to begin the modification process and avoid foreclosure.

    Suspicious of the fax, the client visited the Westbury law firm and discovered that the document was forged, the name of the law firm was incorrect on the fax sheet, and that the law firm had no dealings with Kim on behalf of the client.
Source: Moonlighting Queens Paralegal Charged With Stealing $80,000 From Clients Of Jackson Heights Law Firm That Employed Him (Defendant Allegedly Told Victims He Could Help With Mortgage Loan Modifications).