New Jersey Settlement Fraud - My9 New Jersey

New Jersey Settlement Fraud

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North Haledon, New Jersey (My9NJ) -

Ronica is chasing down alleged settlement fraud across the state of NJ.  She met with Joel Oster on this chase, who purchased a home in North Haledon, NJ in 2005.  On his HUD 1, he was charged $350 for recording fees.  His settlement agent was then responsible for paying those fees to the county clerk’s office.  But, it turns out the county clerk’s office only received $240.  So what happened to the other $110?  Well, Oster believes the money was pocketed by the settlement agent.

Oster is part of a class action lawsuit filed by Attorney Mark Cuker.  The lawsuit alleges that settlement agents like the one involved in Oster’s closing are overcharging home buyers for deed and mortgage recording fees across the state of NJ.

Ronica met with Cuker to learn more about this case, where he walked her through Oster’s documents.  Cuker alleges that settlement agents across NJ have nickel and dimed the NJ home buyer to what amounts to be over $150 million from 2003 to 2010.  And, he says the title insurance companies turned a blind eye to it all.  He said, “The title insurance company is legally responsible to reimburse the victim for any money that is unlawfully taken by the settlement agent.”

Based on Cuker’s research, he believes that homeowners are overcharged by settlement agents about 70% of the time. He says the problem is “endemic.”

Ronica then reached out to Attorney Mike O'Donnell.  He’s representing the title insurance company involved in Oster’s case, as well as three others. They have not heard back from him for comment, but will continue the chase for more details.

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