Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Arrest Warrant Issued in Title Company Fraud Case

By John Larson

SOCORRO – An arrest warrant was issued on Monday, Nov. 8, for Joseph A. Vallejos, the owner and operator of J.M. Abstract and Title Company.
According to the criminal complaint, Vallejos, 49, has been charged with defrauding two of his clients out of $159,501.
The criminal complaint states that Vallejos defrauded Ed Berger of Berger 6, LLC in the amount of $108,249, and defrauded Sarah and Brad Hammack in the amount of $51,252.
The Socorro County District Attorney’s office issued the warrant on Nov. 8.
The complaint states that Berger handed over a check to Vallejos in the amount of $108,249.27 on Sept. 2. He was informed by Vallejos that the first mortgage of $104,000 had been paid off. Berger later learned that Vallejos had not sent the check to the mortgage company until October, incurring a penalty charge that raised the fist mortgage payment to $105,000.
The complaint said that the when the mortgage company processed the check it bounced. Since then, Berger has received three statements from the mortgage company, and is three payments behind.
The criminal complaint said that Sarah and Brad Hammack had sold their house on Faulkner Street to Radora L. Gray.
Sarah Hammack said J.M. Abstract had been the title company used and that the couple had received the money from the profit of the sale of the home, believing the payoff to the mortgage company was complete. The payoff was $51,252.12.
Sarah Hammack recently contacted the Bank of Albuquerque, which informed her that the payoff was not made and that she and her husband were currently two payments behind on the property.
Socorro police detective Richard Lopez, who is investigating the case, said he has several inquiries from other home sellers who also say they have been defrauded by Vallejos.
In the meantime, an investigation by the Public Regulation Commission’s Division of Insurance continues.
As reported in the Oct. 28 issue of the Mountain Mail, officials with the Division of Insurance officially notified Vallejos in August that he was operating in violation of the New Mexico Insurance Code. That apparently did little to deter Vallejos from continuing to violate the code.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Lopez.
Authorities have been unable to locate Mr. Vallejos. There is evidence to suggest that right now he is in Mexico, said Lopez.

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