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Documents hacked during home sale, seller out more than $160K
BATON ROUGE - A title company says it might be dealing with an expert hacker, but the home seller is out thousands of dollars. He wants to know what happened to his mortgage payoff.
Christopher Talbot says the last few months have been tough. He's had anxiety and sleepless nights. He's on the hook for $163,000 and counting.
Over the summer, Talbot sold his house and handed over the keys to the buyer. About a month later he took a strange phone call.
"My insurance agent called me warning me my insurance was about to expire. And I said, well, I already sold the property. And he said, well, there's no way," Talbot explained.
He says his mortgage company never received the payoff from the title company.
"I contacted my mortgage company and they have no record of anything about sale of a house... no documentation, no request, no calls, no nothing and know nothing about it," he said.
He's got all the closing documents in a folder and says the deed has been switched in the new owner's name. Talbot might be the victim of a scam. All of his closing documents were signed with Accent Title on South Sherwood Forest Boulevard. The title company tells 2 On Your Side that they were given paperwork from Talbot with the wrong account number.
"Come to find out the account number on the payoff statement that she had was incorrect, it was not the account number to my mortgage company," Talbot said.
Accent Title says that somewhere, somehow in an email sent from Talbot to Accent Title that the account numbers were changed. The document Talbot says he forwarded from mortgage company Mr. Cooper and the document Accent Title says it received, reflect different mortgage payoff account numbers. The font of the account number also changed.
"I sent them the payoff statement with the proper account number on it. How did this happen? How did this number get changed?" Talbot said.
According to arrest documents, a court order sent to JP Morgan Chase Bank revealed that the account number where the money was deposited belongs to "Promise Land Realty and Property Management LLC." The member on the account is Lashonda Williams, who is the business owner and lives in Baton Rouge. She was arrested for computer fraud and theft and is out on bond. She tells Brittany Weiss that she's a victim, too. Williams said she had identity theft on her computer while selling bitcoin.
As far as the money goes, Talbot says it was quickly moved into several bank accounts, including $25,000 to an off-shore account.
The whole ordeal has done a lot of damage and now Talbot is facing foreclosure on his credit and is still on the hook with the mortgage company.
"They want their money," he said.
Talbot says Accent Title's insurance company reached out to him this week to work with him and get the mortgage payoff settled.
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