Coakley settles mortgage fraud suit

Keith Loria May 11, 2010, 2:17pm


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced Tuesday that a Norwich, Conn., man has been ordered to pay $187,657 in damages and civil penalties resulting from his alleged involvement in mortgage fraud that resulted in numerous foreclosures.

The final judgment against Richard E. Doherty resolves a 2008 lawsuit that detailed mortgage fraud that resulted in a string of foreclosures in Adams, Greenfield, North Adams and Pittsfield.

The lawsuit further claimed that Doherty and four other mortgage brokers devised a scheme to obtain mortgage loans for property purchases and refinances by submitting false qualifying information and documentation. The mortgages were then not repaid by Doherty, who allowed the houses to fall into foreclosure, the lawsuit alleges.

According to the lawsuit, Doherty repeatedly provided false information in applications for mortgage and refinance loans, which allowed him to purchase a string of multi-family and commercial properties primarily in Western Massachusetts.

Doherty, the lawsuit alleges, failed to maintain the purchased properties and allowed almost all of them to fall into serious disrepair, which displaced tenants and harmed both neighbors and the subject municipalities.

Nearly all of Doherty's properties were foreclosed on by lenders and, in several instances, properties had to be condemned and even razed by the municipalities after Doherty abandoned them.

The final judgment determined that Doherty's actions were in violation of the Consumer Protection Act, which including obtaining loan proceeds by fraudulently procuring mortgages on multi-family homes and commercial buildings.

"Mr. Doherty allowed his numerous properties to fall into serious disrepair, at great cost to the surrounding communities. Lenders have foreclosed on nearly all the properties and in several instances, properties were condemned by the municipalities after Mr. Doherty abandoned them," Coakley said.

"This final judgment not only holds Mr. Doherty accountable for his deceptive actions, but it also provides relief to the affected towns and cities."

Under the terms of the final judgment, Doherty is precluded from forming, participating in or engaging in any unfair or deceptive acts in any future real estate transactions.

The mortgage brokers agreed to cease brokerage activities in Massachusetts and pay affected communities restitution following a consent judgment in November.

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