Tampa Lawyer And Paralegal Convinced Foreclosure Victims To Sign Over Their Homes. They Then Filed Bogus BK Docs To Illegally Rent Out The Homes

Tampa Lawyer And ParalegalIt’s official. A Tampa lawyer and paralegal are going to prison. The paralegal will spend 15 months in federal prison for conspiring to commit bankruptcy fraud. Authorities busted him trying to deceive mortgage companies and homeowners with properties in foreclosure.

Eric Liebman will serve three years of probation when released and must repay $167,478.96. He was sentenced Jan. 27 by U.S. District Judge James Moody.

Liebman pleaded guilty Sept. 24, 2019. He faced five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The court reduced his sentence was after he cooperated with the government. He provided information on his co-conspirator, attorney James Lee Clark.

Liebman also admitted diverting client funds for his personal use.

The court sentenced Clark on March 17th. He was looking 25 years in prison. However, the judge sentenced him to 4 years in prison and a $500,000 in fines.

The Scheme

Court papers say Liebman was working for Clark’s firm when the scheme began in January 2012. The pair ran the scheme until February 2017. They defrauded Clark’s clients out of approximately $1.3 million.

As part of his practice, Clark would act as a trustee for his clients and also hold their money in various bank accounts. Clark would then divert the money into his law firm’s bank accounts and pay for personal expenses, such as gambling, travel, and automobiles. 

Liebman and Clark would approach their foreclosure clients claiming they would negotiate with creditors on their behalf. In exchange, the pair wanted the clients to transfer ownership of the homes to Florida Recovery Property Solutions. Florida Recovery was a company controlled by Liebman.

After the homes transferred, the men would convince homeowners to either sign leases or put the house up for sale.

The men would also tell the homeowners they would negotiate with the mortgage holders to save the home. 

The men would also file bogus bankruptcy petitions in the name of homeowners to delay the foreclosure. This would also delay an eventual sale of the property. This allowed Clark and Liebman to keep collecting rent on the property. 

The men never intended to pursue the bankruptcies. As a result, the court would eventually dismiss the bankruptcies.

The scheme ran from January 2010 to February 2017.

Read More About Real Estate And Mortgage Fraud At MFI-Miami.

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