88-year-old losing home in mortgage scam

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by Chris Nagus / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on September 4, 2012 at 11:04 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 5 at 1:59 PM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- An 88-year-old St. Louis woman is about to lose her home of 50 years, a home she paid off decades ago.
 
 Jackie Smith is doing what she can to protect her 88-year-old aunt from losing her home, but even her lawyer admits - it might be too late. He tells News 4 “the house was foreclosed on by the federal government.”
 
Agatha Dismuke has owned the north St. Louis home since the 1950's. In 2008, a man named Larry Bradshaw convinced Agatha to give him power of attorney so he could refinance her house. In this case obtain a reverse mortgage.

According to Agatha's attorney, Dave Harding of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, “on September 4th, 2008, he (Bradshaw) walked away with 51 thousand plus … my client never saw a dime, did not know he was obtaining the mortgage.”
 
Agatha's signature appears on various financial documents. There are also checks written from her account to Bradshaw. But when shown side-by-side the signatures do not appear to be from the same person. Agatha doesn't understand what's happened.

She told News 4 that she thinks she “signed my name that's all” and she did not realize she was refinancing her house.
 
According to her attorney, the loan was obtained through frontier mortgage, and then underwritten by James B. Nutter Kansas City, before being sold to Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae is now foreclosing on the house.

On September 23, Agatha will be homeless. Her niece Jackie is afraid of what will happen then.
“I’m afraid it will kill her, I'm awfully afraid the next thing that happens” said Smith.
 
She contacted News 4’s Chris Nagus, who went looking for Larry.  When he finally got him on the phone he told him he was in Kansas City. Bradshaw says he's been good to Agatha.

“She was in a wheelchair when I met her and got her walking again” claimed Bradshaw.

He admitted in a phone interview that he “had a cocaine problem, you know what I'm saying. Ms. Agatha knew that, everyone knew that.”

And when asked if some of the money went to buy drugs he said “unfortunately” and admitted he probably spent thousands of dollars on drugs. Bradshaw also says some of the money was used for home improvements at Agatha's. But the house still has broken windows and is in major disrepair.
 
Dave Harding is trying to fight it in court but so far it's an uphill battle and it's not looking good.
 
Representatives with the various mortgage companies tell News 4 they cooperated with the police.

According to an email obtained by News 4 the St. Louis Police actually investigated this and in 2010 charged Larry with financial exploitation of the elderly, but charges were never filed because the Circuit Attorney’s office didn't have enough evidence at the time. They also say it’s still under investigation.

On September 5, 2012, Nagus forwarded this story to the offices of Senator Roy Blunt, Senator Claire McCaskill and Congressman Lacy Clay.

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