Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rockland County DA Charges Duo In Equity Stripping Foreclosure Rescue Scam; Allegedly Duped Struggling Homeowner Into Bogus Sale Leaseback Ripoff

In New City, New York, The Journal News reports:
  • Two men were arrested and charged today for swindling a Tomkins Cove homeowner on the verge of foreclosure, the Rockland County District Attorney's Office said.(1) Edward DeFrancesco Sr., 59, of [...] Highland Lakes, N.J., was charged with one felony count of second-degree grand larceny, District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said. DeFrancesco is accused of purchasing the Tomkins Cove home for one price, then telling the bank it cost $160,000 more than it actually did, Zugibe said.


  • A second man, [attorney] Glenn Allyn, 52, of Elmsford, was charged with one felony count of third-degree grand larceny, Zugibe said. Allyn was supposed to be representing the bank at the real estate closing for the sale of the home from the victim to DeFrancesco.(2) He stole a $5,000 check he was not entitled to after telling the victim work had been done at the house and that a contractor was owed the money, Executive District Attorney Gary Lee Heavner said.

  • Authorities believe Allyn and DeFrancesco were both involved with a company that purported to help Rockland homeowners avoid foreclosure, Heavner said. As far as the D.A.'s office could determine, DeFrancesco's business consisted of nothing more than fliers and a phone number, Heavner said.


  • Zugibe said "rescue scams" similar to the one DeFrancesco is accused of have become common. Scammers visit the County Clerk's Office to locate homeowners facing foreclosure or serious debt crisis, then target those people. Typically, the scammer offers to take temporary title to a home, with an option for the homeowner to buy it back once the homeowner has gotten caught up with their debts. But by that time, Zugibe said, costs have been run up so high by the scammer that it becomes impossible for the homeowner to buy back their house.

  • DeFrancesco paid off the victim's mortgage, but not the one he took out as part of the scam. Instead, he tried to walk away from paying it and put the home into foreclosure, Heavner said. The victim continues to live in the home for now, Heavner said.

For the story, see 2 accused of swindling Rockland homeowner facing foreclosure.

See also, Mid-Hudson News Network: Two arrested in North Rockland foreclosure scam.

(1) The investigation was carried out by the Rockland County Special Investigations Unit and the New York State Banking Department's Criminal Investigations Bureau, the story states.

(2) According to this story, Allyn has since been disbarred for unrelated matters.