Abuse Never Ended,|Elderly Woman Says

     AUSTIN, Texas (CN) – A Texan who preys on old people put an elderly woman in the hospital after stealing from her, threatening her with sexual assault, even stealing her dog, the woman claims in court.
     Farnett L. Knox sued Jamie I. Mejia dba Silver Stone Remodelers, of San Antonio, on July 30 in Travis County Court. She also sued Mejia’s alleged crony Gary L. Anderson, of Georgetown, Texas.
     Knox says she expects to lose her home after Mejia, claiming to work with a church charity, pressured her into a reverse mortgage to pay for supposedly free repairs.
     She claims Mejia has targeted other poor and elderly black women, two of them in her neighborhood, in one case working with Anderson. She cites three other lawsuits against Mejia in her 7-page lawsuit.
     Knox says Mejia showed up at her Austin house in 2011 and offered to repair it “free” under a church program for old people. She says he gave her his business card and said a friend of hers had referred him.
     She accepted the offer and Mejia introduced her to Anderson, who told her the free services were “all part of a program to help people, when in actuality she was asked to execute a reverse mortgage on her home,” according to the complaint.
     She says Anderson did not give her a business card or properly identify the company he worked for or what his role in the transaction was.
     “At the time of this meeting, Anderson was a reverse mortgage advisor with Genworth Financial,” Knox says in the complaint, which does not name Genworth Financial as a defendant.
     “Ms. Knox repeatedly told both men that she did not want a loan or desire top participate in any program that would jeopardize ownership of her home,” the complaint states. “Mejia intimidated her and pressured her to execute the papers, he repeated this program was not a loan and through Anderson’s silence and omissions he misled her to believe that was the case.”
     After both men reassured her repeatedly that her home would not be put in jeopardy, Knox says, she signed some papers without the opportunity to read them through, without the presence of a notary, and without being given a copy.
     Mejia then changed the lock on her back door, did not give her a key – and then the looting started, she says in the complaint.
     It states: “He [Mejia] and his agents frequently entered her home and stole valuable personal property, including, jewelry, tools and appliances. They also destroyed personal property including picture frames, garage locks and wall paneling. Carpet was replaced with one of a cheaper quality and it was not installed properly by being secured or tacked to the ground, it was merely laid in place. Her garage roof was replaced in a shoddy manner, leaving holes in the roof and used roof material in the garage for her to remove from the premises. Working appliances were taken away with the promise of new ones, however, the appliances brought in were either used, of lesser quality, smaller in size, or non-functioning.”
     When she complained, and told Mejia and his men to leave, “she was threatened with bodily harm and sexual assault. She was repeatedly called a ‘nigger’ and Mejia told her that a ‘nigger did not deserve such a nice house,’ deserve such ‘nice things’ or need a large freezer because ‘niggers don’t eat that much,'” she says in the complaint.
     She says Mejia and his men told her “that if she reported them, they knew where she lived and that she lived alone.”
     When a neighbor gave her a refrigerator to replace the one Mejia had taken, Mejia wouldn’t let it in the house but had his men take it away, she says. And to top it off, one of her neighbors “witnessed men entering Ms. Knox’s property one evening and stealing her Chihuahua dog.”
     She says the thefts and abuse didn’t stop until a neighbor changed Mejia’s lock.
     She believes Mejia has collected on a $48,000 mechanic’s lien he filed during or after the looting.
     Knox lives on a fixed income and real charities helped her pay her taxes before Mejia descended. In November 2014, she received notice from Reverse Mortgage Solutions that she had defaulted on the reverse mortgage loan and that she owed it $84,290.81. Reverse Mortgage Solutions is not a party to the case.
     In January this year, a collection agency demanded $85,491.51, and in May a lawsuit was filed against her for expedited foreclosure for a lien of $86,889.43.
     “Since learning of the reverse mortgage and potential foreclosure of her home, Ms. Knox’s heath has declined, requiring hospitalization and some home care,” the complaint states. “Consequently, medical professionals visiting her home have filed reports with Adult Protective Services citing her home as a health hazard.
     “Ms. Knox is under extreme stress and financial pressure to comply with orders to complete the alleged remodeling and repairs left incomplete and abandoned, and repair additional damage done by Mejia and his agents.”
     Knox says Mejia has targeted other poor elderly people with similar methods.
     In 2006, Felix R. Soto, Jr. sued Jaime Mejia dba Silver Stone Remodelers, claiming Mejia induced him to take out a home equity loan to pay for roof and foundation repairs. Soto said Mejia completed the roof repairs but abandoned the foundation work and stopped communicating with him, owing him $32,000 worth of services. They settled for $2,000 .
     Amy and Henry Lankford sued Jaime Mejia dba Texas A-1 Remodelers in 2008 for deceptive trade, saying he falsely claimed to be part of a City of Austin low-income assistance program. The Lankfords claimed Mejia talked them into entering a lien contract to remodel their home, and they took out a $52,000 loan based on his representations, but he never completed the work. The lawsuit was dismissed for want of prosecution .
     In 2014, Lucille Otems, an elderly woman, sued Mejia and Silver Stone, claiming Mejia claimed to be with a government assistance program. She claimed in court that $110,000 of a reverse mortgage had gone to Silver Stone Remodelers though the work and materials it provided was worth only $25,400.
     Neither Mejia nor Silver Stone Remodelers could be reached for comment as the business’s phone service was disconnected.
     Knox seeks $115,000 in damages for her hospital bills, home repair costs and replacement of goods.
     She is represented by Cristina Mireles Cooper in Austin.

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