Dead man gets mortgage worth whopping $533G
Wednesday, December 3rd 2008, 1:37 AM
Eugene Thomas had been dead 19 years as of Sept. 13, 2007.
On that day, "Thomas" showed up to sell his Jamaica, Queens, house to a man named Tolessi Enyonam - and lawyers, a mortgage broker and a title company representative at the closing found nothing wrong.
They didn't care much about ID, either: The buyer and seller presented green cards as identification.
At the closing, Enyonam also took out a $533,000 mortgage fromWells Fargo bank on the Union Hall St. house.
The deed transfer and the mortgage were duly recorded by the office of the city register.
The transactions have since blown up.
While Tolessi Enyonam does exist - and Enyonam is a woman, not a man - she's not the person who bought the house and took out the mortgage.
"We don't know who that person is," said Kane, explaining that the male mastermind of the scheme stole the real Enyonam's identity for use in the transactions.
The scam chief replicated the real Enyonam's green card so it had his photo on it.
"Then, he disappeared with the mortgage money," Kane said.
Willie Thomas has been charged with grand larceny.
Prosecutors say they have since learned that others were involved in the scam, including an accountant, a city clerk and a disbarred lawyer.
In the aftermath, the real Tolessi Enyonam's credit has been ruined, and the bank is foreclosing against Eugene Thomas' widow, Dorothy, 74, who has lived at the Jamaica house for more than 30 years.
"I don't know any of those people, never met them, never heard of them," Dorothy Thomas said. "It's unbelievable what happened."