MEMPHIS (CN) – The Home Realty Company of Memphis defrauded an 87-year-old black woman of her home, which she owned free and clear, after she sought a small loan to buy a used car, the widow claims in Federal Court. Home Realty’s owner, Charles Moore, allegedly charged outrageous fees, never informed her he was selling her a new mortgage, and after he took her house, put all her belongings on the street, where they were stolen.
Annie Auston says the defendants prey upon “unsuspecting and unsophisticated consumers and homeowners, particularly African-Americans”.
Represented by Legal Services, Auston says Moore never told her that she was putting up her home for a 6-month, interest-only $16,500 loan at more than 15%, with a balloon payment due at the end, and unconscionable fees.
Auston says she got no loan documents before closing, as required by law, and that she believed “that she was getting a small loan to buy a used automobile, not refinancing and obtaining a new mortgage on a home that was not encumbered with a mortgage.”
Auston also sued Home Financial Services of Memphis, which Moore runs out of the same office as his Home Realty, and Moore’s attorney, Lawrence Kern, and others.
She claims Moore and his businesses took more than $3,000 in “costs and fees,” and submitted fraudulent loan documents with forged signatures to defendant Yale Mortgage, without informing her of it, and that Yale participated in the predatory lending by buying the “over-valued notes with high interest rates,” for which it got a kickback.
She claims her home was appraised at $112,000, but that the defendants sold it at foreclosure for less than $25,000, then had her possessions put out on the street, where they were stolen.
Auston had to move out of state to live with relatives. She demands punitive damages for RICO violations, and violations of housing and credit laws.