Old Woman Says Felon Was Heartless

     VANCOUVER, Wash. (CN) – A mortgage broker defrauded an elderly disabled woman of her house by having her sign it over to him and telling her it was a reverse mortgage, the woman’s guardian claims in court.
     Jeanine Wyman sued Sheldon Harmon, his business Lighthouse Financial Group et al. in Clark County Court. Wyman, through her attorney-in-fact, accuses Harmon of victimizing her through equity skimming, a felony.
     Harmon ran the Lighthouse Financial Group until the State of Washington revoked his license in 2010. Federal prosecutors in Portland, Ore. charged Harmon with bank fraud and money laundering in 2012. He was accused of using phony leases to persuade a bank to loan him more than $3 million to refinance his office in Vancouver, Wash., across the Columbia River from Portland.
     Wyman claims Harmon victimized her when she tried to refinance her home.
     “Sheldon Harmon advised Ms. Wyman that she was elderly and disabled and thus qualified for a ‘reverse mortgage,'” the complaint states. “In fact, Harmon was operating an equity skimming scam.
     “As part of the equity skimming operation Harmon had plaintiff execute documents which she understood would result in a reverse mortgage whereby she would continue to own and live in the property for the remainder of her life or until she wished to sell. During that time she would receive monthly payments that would cover the taxes and insurance on the property. Lighthouse/Harmon would also pay the existing mortgage on the property and any liens.
     “In fact, the papers executed were a quit claim deed transferring title to the property to Harmon.” (Citation to Washington law omitted.)
     Harmon applied for a home equity credit line with defendant MacQuarie Mortgage USA, and “converted all equity in the property to his own use,” according to the complaint.
     “The transaction was part of an ongoing business transaction with MacQuarie whereby Harmon acquitted other properties in the same manner.
     “MacQuarie knew or in the exercise of any diligence would have known that the transaction was fraudulent and an equity skimming transaction,” the complaint states.
     “The facts that would have been uncovered with any inquiry include at least the following: Ms. Wyman continued to reside in the home. Ms. Wyman believed she still owned the home subject only to the reverse mortgage. The consideration for the ‘purchase’ of the home currently valued by MacQuarie at $200,000 was less than $15,000, consisting of paying the existing mortgage balance of approximately $11,000 and compromising an IRS lien.
     “The least inquiry would have disclosed that Harmon’s interest had been acquired in a transaction that was a felony under Washington law.”
     Wyman says Harmon and MacQuarie entered into similar deals on at least five other houses, and that “each transaction was a felony.”
     “Sheldon Harmon was convicted of multiple felonies arising out of his operation of Lighthouse … and was sentenced to federal prison,” the complaint states.
     To top it off, MacQuarie scheduled a March 22 auction to sell Wyman’s home at foreclosure. Courthouse News could determine by press time whether the foreclosure sale went through.
     Harmon, who is in his 30s, is “currently a resident of the federal penitentiary in Utah,” according to Wyman’s complaint.
     Also named as defendants are Kyra Harmon and Northwest Trustee Services.
     Wyman seeks an injunction, quiet title and damages for fraud and criminal profiteering.
     She is represented by William Robinson, with Caron, Colven, Robison & Shafton.

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