Criminal Justice

Two Florida lawyers have been charged in an alleged foreclosure fraud scheme that cost victims nearly $750,000.

Rashida Overby and Ria Sankar-Balram were arrested Oct. 5, according to a press release and stories by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (here and here) and Law360.

The lawyers allegedly filed fraudulent court documents in which they claimed to represent elderly property owners or heirs of deceased property owners who were owed surplus funds from foreclosure sales. After judges granted the pleadings, the lawyers allegedly kept part of the money and wired the rest to two co-conspirators.

The alleged co-conspirators, Illya and Patricia Tinker, are already in jail following a conviction in a different fraud scheme that took ownership of 44 homes through forged documents. Sankar-Balram helped represent them in their criminal trial, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Overby is the registered agent for two companies owned by the Tinkers, Law360 reported.

Overby is charged with 29 counts that include fraud, money laundering and grand theft. Sankar-Balram faces nine counts on the same charges, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Overby, 46, is a 1999 graduate of the Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law. Her law firm is Overby Law.

Sankar-Balram, 40, is a 2008 graduate of the Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law. Her law firm is the Ria Balram Law Group.