In what was appears to be a creative advertising piece from a realtor desperate to drum up business in a very shaky economy, a local homeowner was unnecessarily stressed when informed papers had been filed in Bronx County court to foreclose on his home.
Frank Carigliano received a letter postmarked November 4 from ERA Champions Realty at 3481 E. Tremont Avenue which informed him that his mortgage lender had filed a lawsuit, beginning foreclosure proceedings on his home.
The letter said he should sell his house now, to recapture as much of his investment as possible.
The letter read: “It has come to our attention that your mortgage lender has filed a lawsuit in the Bronx County Court to foreclose on your property.
As you know, if you cannot bring your loan payments current, your property will be sold at a public foreclosure auction sale at the Bronx County Court house. You and your family will then be evicted from the property.”
After checking with his mortgage holder, Citibank and being informed that he and his wife were up to date on their payments on their Throgs Neck Boulevard property, Carigliano reached out to Councilman Jimmy Vacca for support.
“We are nowhere near foreclosure and are up to date on our mortgage,” said homeowner Frank Carigliano. “I read it at first and thought that it was ridiculous. My wife read it and panicked.”
Carigliano said that while he may have been late on a payment or two, he had never been anywhere near foreclosure.
“We have gotten letters from real estate agents in the past, but nothing like this before,” Carigliano said. “This is false information that the realtor is putting out there to create panic.”
The realtor whose signature is on the form letter, Wai Ming Kwong of ERA Champions, provided documents from a database used by realtors called GeoData Direct showing that their was a “foreclose mortgage” on the property that went into effect on August 25. However, the defendant in the case was not listed as the Cariglianos, but rather a firm called PC Development Group, located at 198-206 Kearney Avenue.
This is a different address than the Cariglianos, who live at 210 Throgs Neck Boulevard. Carigliano said his property has nothing to do with the property listed on the document.
A worker at GeoData Direct, a Long Island-based company, declined to comment on the accuracy of the information in their report on the property and referred the matter back to ERA Champions Realty.
For his part, Kwong said that he had intended no malice when he sent out the form letter, only to provide needed services to people who may be ailing under the pressure of mortgage payments.
“Our intent is not to harass or harm anyone,” Kwong said. “We provide a service to those who are in need.”
It is believed the realty owner purposely missends these letters to get unsuspecting property owners to contact him, in the hopes of picking up a new house listing.