Article Courtesy of The Daily
By Michael A. Mora
October 10, 2020
The Broward Sheriff’s Office has arrested two
attorneys who allegedly defrauded victims out of nearly $750,000 over
two years as part of a sophisticated fraud involving foreclosed real
The two attorneys, Rashida Overby, 46, and Ria Sankar-Balram, 40, each
have their own private practices, with the former in Tamarac and the
latter in Margate. They are facing several charges, including an
organized scheme to defraud, grand theft and money laundering, according
to the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
The lawyers are accused of filing fraudulent pleadings in Broward County
Circuit Court, where they claimed to represent the elderly, or the heirs
of deceased property owners. They allegedly filed fraudulent petitions
to collect surplus funds from the foreclosure sale of a property,
pretending the money was for the rightful owners, according to the
Broward Sheriff’s Office release.
But after judges granted the requests, the money did not make it to the
rightful owners. Instead, the sheriff’s office alleged that the lawyers
allocated the money into their own escrow accounts, while sending some
of the remaining funds to the bank accounts of two additional suspects.
These two additional suspects, Illya Tinker, 51, and Patricia Tinker,
46, are already in custody at the Broward County Jail. The Tinkers were
convicted last year in a separate complex fraud scheme that the
sheriff’s office said stole over $12 million from victims, including
from several who were dead, earning them the nickname “tomb raiders.”
Meanwhile, Overby remains in custody until she can post nearly $140,000
in bond, which she has to prove was not the fruit of the crimes she is
accused of committing.
The sheriff’s office said that Sankar-Balram was free on $57,000 bond.
The suspects are likely to face additional repercussions, such as having
their law licenses revoked, pending the issuance of a disciplinary order
by the Florida Supreme Court.