Two Broward County attorneys found themselves on the wrong side of the jailhouse wall this week after the sheriff’s office alleged they were part of a scheme with convicted felons to steal up to $742,000 in foreclosure sale proceeds.
The four are accused of working together to claim surplus foreclosure funds held by the clerk of court, money left over after a foreclosed property is sold and the lender is paid what is owed.
The attorneys took “those foreclosures surplus checks by filing fraudulent pleadings with the court, basically lying to judges in Broward County, saying they were representing the rightful recipients of those dollars,” said sheriff’s spokesman Carey Codd.
Attorney Rashida Overby remained in custody Tuesday, until she could post nearly $140,000 in bond with money she can prove was not fruit of the 29 counts she faces, including alleged theft and money laundering.
Attorney Ria Sankar-Balram was free on $57,000 bond, charged with seven counts, including money laundering, stemming from the alleged theft of $78,000.
Also charged were Patricia and Illya Tinker, a married couple convicted last year of another real estate scam. Patricia is serving a 35-year sentence and her husband 177 years after a jury convicted them of dozens of charges.
Sankar-Balram assisted the defense, taking notes, during that trial, she told NBC 6, while declining to comment on the current charges.
“We have multiple victims in this case and they did target deceased individuals and to the tune of approximately $750,000 dollars,” Codd said of what the sheriff’s office dubbed Operation Claim Game.
Among those deceased, Joanne Weaver, who died in 2018 at age 88.
“I’m only the voice for Joanne because she can’t talk for herself any more,” said a longtime friend who assisted the investigation. “I won’t let them do this to someone else.”
When Joanne Weaver died, she still owed some money on a mortgage for her share of her house in Dania Beach. The bank foreclosed, the property sold and $97,000 in excess funds was deposited with the clerk of the court.
Then someone named Barbara Weaver stepped forward to say the money was hers. The only problem, the sheriffs office says: there is no Barbara Weaver.
The sheriff’s complaint alleges attorney Rashida Overby filed fraudulent documents with the court claiming to represent a fictional Barbara Weaver and then cashed the $97,000 check.