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Criminal Fraud Arising Out of Civil Title/Foreclosure Disputes

Quick post today to start the New Year. My routine case law search uncovered a criminal case related to some procedural technicalities that admittedly have no relevance to my blog:    United States v. Yoder, No. 3:17-CR-30 JD, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204060 (N.D. Ind. Nov. 9, 2022).

What I found interesting was that the two characters implicated in the criminal matters were involved in a pair of residential title/foreclosure disputes we handled back in 2016. The factual background in Yoder essentially mirrors what we thought occurred in our cases:

As set out in the presentence report, in 2014 and 2015, Mr. Yoder and his codefendant Kyle Holt, were engaged in a scheme to defraud homeowners who were facing foreclosures on their homes. They would approach such distressed homeowners and convince them to transfer title of the property in exchange for false promises of being able to avoid further foreclosure obligations. In particular, they falsely represented to the homeowners that they would handle their mortgage arrearages and the foreclosure process. Some believed these lies and transferred their interest in the property through quit claim deeds to entities controlled by the defendants. Mr. Yoder and Mr. Holt would then record the quit claims deeds at the local recorder's office. In reality, though, the quit claim deeds did not extinguish the outstanding mortgage debts. Regardless, Mr. Yoder would use the fraudulent interest in the property to secure to himself or others ownership of the property.

In some instances, to further the fraud, Mr. Yoder would cause to be mailed a bogus document entitled "International Promissory Note" to the financial institution holding the outstanding mortgage debt, purporting to extinguish the debt. Mr. Yoder knew this was fiction and did this to cloud the title of the property. Simultaneously, Mr. Yoder would cause to be filed a fraudulent “Satisfaction of Mortgage” with the county recorder's office in an attempt to discharge the mortgage.

We were engaged by a residential mortgage loan servicer to protect the interests of the senior lender/mortgagee in the prior matters. We were able to convince the court that the paperwork purportedly affecting title and our client’s mortgage was bogus, and the court granted summary judgment in our client’s favor.

Apparently our cases were not isolated events, and someone must have reported Yoder and Holt to the authorities. The criminal actions appear to be ongoing, and you can search Pacer under the case number above to learn more.

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I represent lenders, as well as their mortgage loan servicers, entangled in loan-related disputes. If you need assistance with a similar matter, please call me at 317-639-6151 or email me at [email protected]. Also, don’t forget that you can follow me on Twitter @JohnDWaller or on LinkedIn, or you can subscribe to posts via RSS or email as noted on my home page.

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