Article Courtesy of The Tampa
By Susan Taylor Martin
March 3, 2017
In an unusually sharply worded ruling, a judge has blasted both a Pasco
County lawyer and the homeowner he represented in a foreclosure case.
Circuit Judge Kimberly Sharpe Byrd said last week that she found "clear
and convincing evidence'' that attorney Constantine Kalogianis
intentionally and fraudulently altered mortgage records in attempt to
block foreclosure of his client's house.
And while acknowledging there was no direct evidence homeowner Nicholas
Verrengia took part in the fraud, he "at the very least condoned (Kalogianis')
actions after the fact,'' the judge said.
Previous coverage: Pasco attorney Constantine Kalogianis facing nine
felony counts connected to foreclosure fraud
Byrd's ruling paves the way for Bayview Loan Servicing to foreclose on
Verrengia's New Port Richey home after a trial to determine how much he
still owes on his mortgage.
A former congressional candidate, Kalogianis has been in hot water since
Bayview alleged last year that he was altering foreclosure case records
to benefit homeowners he represented. Surveillance videos taken in a
Pasco clerk's office appear to show him stamping something on papers in
two different cases.
Last fall, Kalogianis was arrested on nine felony counts for what
Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe called a "systematic,
ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud" multiple lenders
between November 2013 and March 2016. Kalogianis has pleaded not guilty.
At a hearing in January on Bayview's motion for sanctions against
Kalogianis, the lawyer invoked his constitutional right to remain silent
and then left the hearing, the judge noted in her ruling. When Verrangia
— who is a neighbor of Kalogianis — was called to testify, he was
"evasive and even combative at one point,'' the judge said.
"Mr. Verrangia's demeanor was not consistent with that of a faultless
client who did not condone Mr, Kalogianis' actions,'' the judge said.
In her ruling the judge also rapped some of attorney Lee Segal's
statements in defense of Kalogianis during the sanctions hearing. Segal
said he didn't see anything in the videos except for Kalogianis
paper-clipping some pages and handing them to a clerk to be copied.
"Contrary to this argument,'' the judge said, "the Court watched the
same videos and clearly saw Mr. Kalogianis pull out a stamp and stamp
documents in four videos. (Bayview's lawyer) remarked… 'that to argue
that Mr, Kalogianis was acting property, as Mr. Segal has argued, is
really almost beyond my imagination.' This Court agrees.''
In an unrelated matter, another judge has recommended that Kalogianis be
disbarred for five years for not paying back a $227,644 investment that
a 73-year-old client made to him in 2007.