Broward attorneys face charges in scheme to steal foreclosure surplus checks

Two Broward attorneys are behind bars for their involvement in a nearly $750,000 fraud scheme to rip off unsuspecting victims of foreclosure surplus checks, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

The attorneys, Rashisa Overby and Ria Sankar-Balram, worked with Illya and Patricia Tinker, a married couple nicknamed “tomb raiders” for another multimillion-dollar scheme in which they stole properties across South Florida, some of which belonged to the dead.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office arrested Overby and Sankar-Balram Monday.

The attorneys filed fraudulent pleadings in Broward County Court, claiming they represented elderly property owners or heirs of deceased property owners who were owed surplus money from the foreclosure sale of a property, authorities said.

After judges granted the pleadings, those funds never made it to the rightful owners. Instead, the money went into the attorneys’ escrow accounts, and some of it was wired to the Tinkers’ bank accounts, authorities said.

The attorneys face charges of organized scheme to defraud, grand theft and money laundering.

The Tinkers are still in jail on charges of aggravated white collar crime, grand theft, unlawfully filing false documents and criminal use of personal ID info in the tomb raiders scheme, which dates back to 2016. They were arrested last year.

In that scheme, a ring of thieves illegally took ownership of more than 40 homes across South Florida. Group members used fraudulent notary signatures to get the properties, then they lived in the homes, sold them or rented them, arrest reports said.

The group picked not only the homes of unaware property owners, but also those from the estates of 18 dead people, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said.

Brooke Baitinger can be reached at: [email protected], 954-422-0857 or Twitter: @bybbaitinger

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