http://tinyurl.com/puy84jj (links to The Courier Journal article)
A Jefferson County jury has awarded a Louisville couple a $21.5 million verdict for being victimized in what their lawyer called “a Ponzi scheme” run by another couple who have been indicted in three mortgage fraud cases and have been linked to massage parlor prostitution.
The verdict handed down Friday in Jefferson Circuit Court involved punitive damages of $10 million against Wells Fargo; $5 million against New Age Title Co.; $6 million against New Age’s real estate attorney, David Mour; and $500,000 against Forcht Bank; said Tom Conway, attorney for plaintiffs Brian and Patricia Thompson.
The jury also ordered all four defendants to pay nearly $500,000 in compensatory damages.
New Age Title Co., owned by Ivan DeLeon and Jeana Kaufman, performed the November 2010 refinancing of the Thompsons’ home but failed to pay off their original mortgage, Conway said.
“It was just a scam, and it wasn’t a smart one,” said Conway, who is representing another couple in a similar lawsuit against New Age.
Phone calls to Mour seeking comment Saturday were not immediately returned.
A federal indictment charges DeLeon and Kaufman with aiding and abetting wire fraud in three cases, including one in which the Thompsons were the victims, according to court records.
DeLeon and Kaufman were supposed to use money from the new mortgage from Magnolia Bank to pay off the Thompsons’ original mortgage from Wells Fargo, Conway said. Instead, they sent Wells Fargo a check to pay off the loan but then stopped payment, he said.
Wells Fargo did not become aware of the stop payment until after it released the original mortgage, he said.