FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – For nearly two years, a group of four people, including two attorneys, pulled off a sophisticated fraud scheme by stealing foreclosure surplus checks from unsuspecting victims. The fraud in “Operation Claim Game” cost victims nearly $750,000.
According to detectives with the Broward Sheriff’s Office Money Laundering Task Force, attorneys Rashida Overby, 46, of Lauderhill and Ria Sankar-Balram, 40, of North Lauderdale, filed fraudulent pleadings in Broward County Court alleging that they represented elderly property owners or heirs of deceased property owners who were owed surplus funds from the foreclosure sale of a property.
After judges granted the pleadings, the funds never made it to the rightful owners. Instead, the monies were deposited into the attorneys’ escrow accounts, and some of the funds were wired to Illya Tinker, 51, and 46 year old Patricia Tinker’s bank accounts.
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Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives worked in close partnership with the Broward State Attorney’s Office to bring organized scheme to defraud, grand theft and money laundering charges in this case.
Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested Overby and Sankar-Balram on Monday morning. The Tinkers are already in the Broward County Jail after being convicted last year for crimes committed in “Operation Tomb Raiders,” a complex fraud scheme carried out by the Tinkers and several others that began in 2016. In that case, the suspects fraudulently took ownership of 44 homes in Broward County, stealing more than $12 million from victims.