SANTA FE, N.M. (CN) - A real estate broker stole a house from an 86-year-old man who had sought his help to sell it, the elderly Santa Fe man claims in court.
Porfirio Chavez sued Gilbert A. Ortiz and Gil A. Ortiz Properties on Tuesday in Santa Fe County Court.
Chavez says he had never bought or sold any real estate before. He lived in the adobe home he'd inherited from his parents in 1949, which he'd helped them build when he was young. Chavez says he met Ortiz through a breakfast group and believed the broker was a reputable businessman.
After offering to help Chavez sell the home, Ortiz tricked him into signing over the deed, then took out a mortgage on the home, transferred ownership to an LLC, and rented it out, pocketing all proceeds, according to the lawsuit.
Chavez claims that Ortiz managed to string out the fiction that he was going to sell the home for 10 years, until Chavez hired a lawyer who discovered the true status of the property.
When the attorney challenged him, Ortiz produced documents claiming that a purchase price had been agreed upon, Chavez says, though he insists he never agreed to the sale.
Chavez seeks restitution and punitive damages for fraud and breach of fiduciary duties.
He is represented by Gary Friedman with Cassut, Hays & Friedman.
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