My elderly aunt lives alone and is being harassed. Who can we get to help?


Someone/people took out 2-3 mortages on her home in a single month. She is in court trying to fight a fraudulent eviction (her original mortage had been paid off), but is getting the runaround by Citibank and US Bank. Meanwhile, people show up at her home for various reasons -today a crew started digging in her yard saying she had called in a gas leak - she had not!. They tried to intimidate her. We tried the police - no help. A lawyer she hired also was part of the mortage scam. We contact the Attorney General, to no avail. She has no more money for legal services. is there anyone who provides legal services pro bono for the elderly? She lives in NY while I live in another state. I am very worried somethi ng will happen to her (seems someone/people asre after her home). Does anyone know of anything that could help?

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Yes, the Legal Aid Society in her state can help. I think she needs to get entirely away from there. It sounds like someone with knowledge of her private information has started this all of this using that info to involve others. Google "free legal help for seniors in New York" to find Legal Aid.
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If she is being harassed by creditors and they are using abusive tactic try calling HELPS at 855-435-7787 they have been a blessing in the lives of many.
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Another thing to do is to move her into an assistant living home or retirement home to get away from that mess. Sell her house, if you can and use it for herl ivinging expenses. How awlful that people do that to elder people. Good luck.
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raices, you know what I would do? I'd go to the press. I'd call the local TV station and ask for someone that does reports about people getting the shaft for whatever reason. I know every TV station has someone there that looks out for the ' little guy' so that's where I'd start. They do here in Oregon I know, and it seems once the bad guys are exposed in the media, you'd be surprised how fast things get done. Try it. What could it hurt?
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Organization is the key to keep from going loco on this.

See if you can get a copy of the court reporter records so you can read what has been actually said. Auntie may be confused. They can sometimes be costly if you go to the courthouse to get but sometimes the court reporter company can sell the transcripts to you directly. Most of these are women owned firms and often understanding to your plight.

Out of curiosity, who is the name on the 3 mortgages? Are there 3 separate mortgages or is it one with addendum's on it? have others in her neighborhood been scammed?

You need to get the letter from the DA's office regarding the dismissal of the case and a copy of the dismissal document.

So is this correct, she is going to court on her own??? OMG - no. She needs an attorney, this cannot be done by a layperson.

When the dust settles, think about if she could move closer to you or another family member or into a senior housing situation. Her name and identity is out there and it's very likely that it has been shopped out to other thieves. yep it's totally disgusting.
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Thank you so much for all the helpful information! I am trying to get time off work (difficult for me). It seems such a daunting task as she has been to court a few times and the current judge and lawyer are threatening her that if she does not get an attorney soon, they will forclose! This fraud has been going on for awhile (seems Chase has mortages from11/22/05, again on 11/28/05 then again 12/1/05???? - how is that even possible???). She did just get a letter from US Bank stating they do not have a mortage on her home but... the lawyers in court insist there is one (Chase Bank). The district attorney said the case was dismissed in 2007 and there was no foreclosure and she told him that she been going to court every month (2012) and is still in foreclosure. I am trying to just get through all the mounds of documents! Thanks again for the specific things we can do.
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Another suggestion, go on Trulia or Zillow or off & on to check on your auntie address to see if someone is trying to sell it.

Blockshopper is especially good if you are being a sleuth and want to find out other properties that a person owns and sometimes who the Realtor was. This will be helpful if you go to court against whomever scammed your aunt.


Blockshopper is especially good as it links owners names to other properties they "own"
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Whomever is doing this should rot naked atop a fire ant hill.

imho there are 2 different plans of attack to deal with this. Stuff you can do on her behalf from afar (assuming she wants you to help and you are going to actively try to help her) and then stuff you need to go to NY to do with her. She is likely overwhelmed and frightened.

Stuff to do now from afar (all this is based on you doing this on her behalf and that it is all kum-ba-ya with her and no major family friction if you do):
1.a Letters to the big 3 credit reporting agencies from her stating that "I a victim of identity theft....". You send this as if you are her with her address on the letter.
1.b this will trigger letters from all her credit card companies. She can wait to answer their letters or be proactive and request new cards issued. Personally, I'd suggest to her that she has a couple of cards and close department store ones.
2. Letter to her bank(s) stating again I am a victim of ID theft and asking them to monitor for unusual activity in her account and to contact either her or you, her trusted niece, when that happens.
3. Go onto her county tax assessors site and find her home's address &/or parcel number and get a copy of all the legal filed on it. Most counties have it so you can do all this on-line and it is inexpensive. These are public documents. You need these documents for when you see an attorney and also for...
4. Go through all the legal that you get from the tax assessors site and send letter(s) stating that document # 1245 related to parcel # 678 aka the street address is fraudulent because of identity theft of the property owner to EACH & EVERY person or institution on the legal documents (whether it's a Deed or Trust, Quit Claim, Warranty Deed or whatever the documents are called)
4. The AG's office will move on things only when there is a possible class action involved. So it is good that you send them something in writing anyways. Mortgage fraud is usually an FBI thing rather than a state action because mortgages often involved FHA, HUD or other federal agency or stuff that crosses state lines.
5. But you are better served writing a complaint to her states Commissioner on Banks and Financial Institutions OR it could be called the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations. Each bank involved (Citi, US Bank, etc) gets it's own letter of complaint. Again, mention fraudulent action etc. Again this comes from your aunt and states to contact her or you for follow-up.
6. I'd send a letter to Gov. Cuomo's office.
7. Contact the NY State Coalition on Elder Abuse in Rochester. NY's state clearinghouse on all things elderly. Again your tax $$ at work so use them.

IMPORTANT: all these letters need to be sent via USPO certified mail and with a return receipt card (the green postcard). Each will run about $ 7.00 to mail and you can go on line to track and print out the delivery info. All the letters are written as if she is writing them and from her address. For the return receipt, I'd do the green card Mrs. Jean Smith c/o your name and your address just in case someone is stealing her mail and also you are less likely to lose or misplace it than auntie.The green card is important legally as there will be a signature on it.
7. Mechanic's leins - again you can likely do this on-line to. Most county tax assessor or city safety & permits will have mechanic's liens or unclosed permit information on-line. Sometimes with mortgage fraud, there will be lots of others involved like roofing or renovation companies which place a mechanic's lien on the house for work that was never done but nevertheless has a lien that the homeowner gets stuck with. Nasty, nasty scam. I saw a lot of this after Hurricane katrina when a homeowner under duress would hire one of the many disaster chasers roofing companies - they pull a permit and do the work but they have all your data and signature which they sell to another "repair/renovation/elevation" company which then places a mechanic's lien on the house, then when the homeowner is trying to get a grant or loan they have to pay off the lien.
8. Contact the Agency on Aging in her county. AoA is nationwide and is your tax $$ at work. They should have a list of certified elder care attorneys, see which will see her for a free initial consultation. If there is a law school in her city or a city closely, they will have probono clinics. Schedule appointments with each for the future date when you will be in town

The green cards should take about 2 weeks to come back to you.

Can you take a few days off and go to see her after you get the cards? When you go, schedule a visit with an elder care attorney to get the legal needed to be able to act at her DPOA, MPOA, etc. The above contacts may have names to give you for attorneys who do probono work. If not and she lives in a city or closeby to a city that has a law school, they will have probono clinics.

Whatever the case, you need to take all the documents you've gotten and whatever auntie has and organize them and make copies to leave with the attorney. Being organized will be critical to keeping sanity. Good luck.
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