2 Broward Lawyers Face Criminal Charges for Alleged Fraud Involving Foreclosed Properties

Article Courtesy of The Daily Business Review

By Michael A. Mora

Published 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 estate.

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.