INDIANA – Attorney General Todd Rokita today announced two separate legal actions against defendants accused of trying to defraud financially distressed Hoosier homeowners.
“We have made it clear through these enforcement actions that our office will do everything in our power to protect vulnerable Hoosier homeowners,” Attorney General Rokita said. “Scammers who seek to use real estate to illegally profit from homeowners in distress should take note that they will be held accountable under the law.”
In the first matter, Attorney General Rokita and his team are suing a St. Joseph County man and affiliated entities over allegations they swindled a senior citizen out of the title to her home.
Under the guise of helping the woman avoid a tax sale, Steven Kollar and others allegedly sought multiple loans using the consumer’s home as collateral — receiving more than $100,000 in loan proceeds while paying nothing to the consumer, who was left homeless.
Kollar allegedly carried out his scheme in part through companies with which he is affiliated, including American Realty Investments LLC.
In the second matter, Attorney General Rokita and his team are suing two individuals — Leland Baptist of Indianapolis and Silipa Tupuola of Brownsburg — over allegations they and their affiliated companies engaged in a foreclosure rescue scam in which they solicited consumers in financial distress under the promise of helping them to save their homes.
In actuality, Defendant Baptist allegedly engaged in a scheme in which he obtained title to the properties and attempted to rent or re-sell them on contract to other victims.
In one transaction, Baptist allegedly obtained title to a property at 1130 North Bauman Street in Indianapolis from a financially distressed consumer and then “assigned” his rights to defendant Tupuola, who had no titled interest in the property. Tupuola then agreed to sell the property to an unsuspecting couple who paid him more than $30,000 before discovering from an attorney that they had been scammed.
The companies through which Baptist allegedly operated such schemes include Lee-Chandler Enterprises LLC, Lee Chandler LLC and 1130 N. Bauman Land Trust. Defendant Tupuola operated Blitz Investment Group LLC.
In each case, Attorney General Rokita and his team are seeking consumer restitution for the victims, civil penalties, and costs of the investigations to be assessed to the defendants.
Attorney General Rokita thanked members of his Homeowner Protection Unit in investigating these cases and filing the resultant legal actions.
The mission of the Homeowner Protection Unit is to protect the rights of all individuals involved in the housing market, including tenants, homeowners, and aspiring homeowners, by investigating and redressing deceptive acts in connection with mortgage lending and violations of relevant state and federal laws.
Hoosiers are encouraged to contact the Office of the Indiana Attorney General about any suspected scams or scam attempts. Consumers can file a complaint by visiting indianaconsumer.com or calling 1-800-382-5516.
The complaints are attached.