An East Rockaway mortgage modification adviser was arrested on March 24 and charged with stealing more than $30,000 from an Orange County homeowner who had hired him to help her prevent a foreclosure on her house.
“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,” said Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.
According to Singas, Jeffrey Halpern, 60, who did business as JCK Marketing Inc., was hired in September 2011 by the homeowner in an effort to avoid a foreclosure and to obtain a loan modification with CitiMortgage. She paid Halpern a $4,000 retainer.
He allegedly called the woman every month thereafter, sometimes weekly, requesting payments for the bank. When she questioned him, he told her that the bank required the payments in order to continue processing her modification application. He was forwarding all of the money, he said, to CitiMortgage, and it was being applied to her mortgage payments. Based on this information, the victim continued to make payments to Halpern, from February 2012 to December 2013, totaling $31,310.
She became suspicious when CitiMortgage informed her that the bank had never heard of Halpern and had no knowledge of any loan modification set up on her behalf. The bank informed her that her home was about to be foreclosed, and that it had not received any payments in her name. In December 2013, she stopped making payments to Halpern.
An investigation revealed that none of those payments were ever applied to her mortgage, nor did Halpern ever obtain a loan modification. A review of his bank accounts showed that the victim’s funds were almost immediately withdrawn from his account in cash from ATMs, and that Halpern allegedly used the money for personal and business purposes unrelated to the woman’s mortgage or loan modification.
A history of impersonation
Shams Tarek, a spokesman for the D.A.’s office, confirmed that Halpern is the same man who had impersonated a police officer in 2003, threatening to arrest a man unless he paid him $100, Nassau County police said at the time.