A Mount Vernon woman who works as a nanny claims that a phony loan modification company impersonated her, filed for bankruptcy in her name and pocketed her mortgage payments for years.
Carmen Palmer sued Edith Walker and B&W Foreclosure Help for $1 million on March 18 in Westchester Supreme Court.
Walker, who lives in the Detroit area, according to the complaint, told Palmer that “she had saved countless homes and was experienced in foreclosure matters and the process of the court system.”
Walker “may continue to have a broad impact on consumers at large,” Palmer contends, and specifically “homeowners in distress.”
Attempts to contact Walker for her side of the story failed. B&W Foreclosure, and three other foreclosure companies listed in her name, are no longer in existence, according to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. A phone number listed for Walker in a business filing is not in service.
In 2004, Palmer bought a Tudor style house on Collins Avenue in the Fleetwood section of Mount Vernon, for $715,000. She borrowed $572,000 from America’s Wholesale Lender.
Palmer states that she was introduced to Walker in 2013, and she paid $1,700 to get help in lowering her monthly mortgage payments.
Palmer claims she was told to stop making loan payments, to purposely default on the mortgage, and to forward all correspondence and notices to Walker.
In 2014, according to the complaint, Palmer was told she had been approved for a “third party modification” through B&W Foreclosure and should make her loan payments directly to B&W.
From 2014 to 2017, Palmer paid B&W $300,000.
In late 2014, U.S. Bank, the loan trustee, filed a foreclosure action on Palmer’s house. She owed $491,496.
Palmer was unaware of the circumstances until 2017, according to a pleading in the foreclosure case, when she received a notice that her home would be sold at public auction. A real estate broker rushed to the county courthouse for her to stop the auction, and was told that it had been canceled because a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition had been filed.
Palmer contacted the lawyer who filed the petition, and they discovered that Walker had impersonated Palmer to file for bankruptcy.
The bankruptcy case was dismissed at Palmer’s request in 2018.
The foreclosure case is pending.
Last year, Palmer filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, citing a “mortgage scam.”
She declared more than $1.1 million in assets and $492,434 in liabilities. The assets consist mostly of her house, a $103,000 property in Jamaica, West Indies, and $349,000 that she claims Walker owes her. The mortgage debt comprises most of the liabilities.
She lists her occupation as a nanny, at $4,300 a month, and shows another $3,575 a month in business or rental income.
Her lawsuit charges Walker and B&W with fraud, breach of contract and violations of New York’s real property law and deceptive practices act.
She is represented by White Plains attorney Albert A. Hatem. Her bankruptcy attorneys are Julio E. Portilla of New York – the lawyer who mistakenly filed the bogus bankruptcy petition – and Linda M. Tirelli of White Plains.