Foreclosure rescue issue resolved in Massachusetts
BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Thursday that her office has completed a case against six defendants accused of taking part in a 2006 foreclosure rescue scheme.
As a result, a judgment was issued against Alec G. Sohmer by Judge Thomas Connolly, requiring Sohmer to pay $620,000 for his part in allegedly orchestrating an illegal foreclosure rescue scheme targeting 26 homeowners.
The lawsuit alleged that by preying on homeowners facing foreclosure, Sohmer stripped and retained hundreds of thousands of dollars of the victims' home equity after false promises of saving their homes through refinancing with Timeless Funding.
Allegedly, the homes were then signed over to Sohmer or his wife and he would collect monthly "rents" and while helping consumers repurchase their homes with new financing.
The suit accuses Sohmer of carrying out these actions, knowing full well that the homeowners would not be able to make the monthly payments or receive further financing to buy the homes back. Once the homeowners missed a payment, Sohmer is accused of trying to evict them so he could sell the home to new buyers. He is also accused of taking the homeowners' equity by charging fees, commissions and other payments.
Four other defendants who took part in the scheme - including Sohmer's wife - were ordered to pay $364,000 total.
A $90,000 consent judgment was filed against Sohmer's wife, Jennifer Sohmer, who often allegedly purchased the homes and acted as the mortgage loan borrower for six properties in the scheme.
Andrew Palmer, who served as the closing attorney for the foreclosure rescue transactions and default judgments against Timeless Funding, was assessed $130,000 in civil penalties, and attorney Shaun M. Ellis, who was allegedly instrumental in bringing homeowners to Sohmer in exchange for a fee, was ordered to pay $34,000.
A consent judgment for $41,204 against mortgage broker Edward de la Flor, who allegedly took part in many of the transactions, was entered on May 5.
In total, the defendants were ordered to pay $545,204 in restitution, $340,000 in civil penalties and $140,000 in attorneys fees to the Commonwealth. The restitution will go to some of the homeowners who lost their equity.
According to the judgment, Sohmer is prohibited from engaging in mortgage lending, brokering or any business involving residential real estate from now on.