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New York Reverse Mortgage Scam Charged as Hate Crime

A reverse mortgage fraud scheme directed toward a 81-year-old Brooklyn, New York man will be charged as a hate crime for targeting an elderly victim, Kings County District Court announced today.

Sal Lauria and an accomplice were charged with grand larceny in the second degree as a hate crime for allegedly obtaining a reverse mortgage in the victim’s name and then stealing $350,000 in proceeds from a joint account they established.

According to the district attorney, the victim met Lauria after the victim responded to a TV commercial advertising debt assistance. Lauria, who worked for the company that owned the ad, then offered the victim a “stream-lined” mortgage, collected his application information, established a false bank account and deposited reverse mortgage proceeds into the account before keeping the money for himself.

“Defendants who commit real estate crimes do far more than steal property and money: they rob their victims of the American Dream of homeownership,” said District Attorney Hynes. “Particularly troubling is the use of so-called ‘reverse mortgages’, available only to senior citizens, to steal the equity from homes belonging to elderly victims.”

The charge against Lauria carries a maximum 25-year sentence.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker