East Rockaway businessman allegedly stole from Orange County homeowner
MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that an East Rockaway mortgage modification advisor was arrested yesterday for stealing more than $30,000 from an Orange County, NY homeowner he had been hired by to prevent a foreclosure.
Jeffrey Halpern, 60, who did business as JCK Marketing, Inc., was arrested by DA Investigators yesterday and charged with Grand Larceny in the 3rd Degree (a D felony). He was conditionally released to probation by Nassau County District Court Judge Joseph Girardi, and is due back in court on April 18. Halpern faces a maximum sentence of 2-1/3 to seven years in prison if convicted.
“This defendant is alleged to have taken advantage of a homeowner who was already in financial trouble by stealing more than $30,000 from her in a time of need,” DA Singas said. “Anyone who suspects they may have been defrauded by this defendant should contact my office’s tipline at 516-571-7755.”
DA Singas said that in September, 2011, a 52-year-old Rock Tavern, NY woman allegedly hired Halpern, working under JCK Marketing, Inc., in an effort to avoid the foreclosure of her home and to obtain a loan modification with CitiMortgage. The victim paid Halpern a $4,000 retainer fee.
Thereafter, Halpern would allegedly call the victim every month, and sometimes weekly, requesting payment for the bank. When the victim would question Halpern, he would tell her that the bank required such payments in order to continue processing her modification application and informed her that all monies are forwarded by him to CitiMortgage and applied to her mortgage payments. Based on this information, the victim continued to make payments, as directed by Halpern, from February 2012 until December 2013. The payments totaled $31,310.
The victim became suspicious after she received several calls from CitiMortgage in which a CitiMortgage representative informed her that they have never heard of the defendant and had no knowledge of any loan modification set up on her behalf. The bank informed her that her home is headed to foreclosure and that they have not received any payments from the defendant. In or about December 2013, the victim stopped making payments to Halpern.
The investigation revealed that none of the payments totaling $31,310 made by the victim to Halpern from February 2012 to December 2013 were ever applied to her mortgage, nor was a loan modification obtained by Halpern.
A review of Halpern’s bank accounts showed that the victim’s funds were almost immediately withdrawn via cash withdrawals from ATMs from Halpern’s account. Halpern allegedly used the funds for personal and business purposes unrelated to the victim’s mortgage or loan modification with CitiMortgage.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Contreras of DA Singas’ Government and Consumer Frauds Bureau is prosecuting the case. Halpern is represented by Ronald Bekoff, Esq.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.