New London home among those caught in alleged scam
Donald Pardy's home at 109 Glenwood Ave. in New London had been on the market for a year when he received a letter in late June from Realty Partners Group, an investment company in New Haven, saying it was interested in buying his property.
"I'd been trying to sell it without any luck," Pardy said. "A short sale didn't go through and the house was in foreclosure. I didn't have anything to lose if I just met with them."
Pardy met with a man named Bill Burke of Realty Partners Group in July at a Dunkin Donuts in Southbury. Burke told him he was interested in buying the house and would maintain the property while he negotiated a sale with the bank.
Pardy said he was given three papers to sign- a third-party authorization letter, which allowed Realty Partners Group to talk to McCue Mortgage; an indemnification agreement that would hold him "harmless" against mortgage debt and any judgments against the property; and a management agreement. He said he sent the documents to his attorney, who told him that while the documents were vague, there wasn't anything improper with them. Pardy signed all three.
He also continued to keep his home listed with William Raveis Real Estate. He said he told his real estate agent that a private investor was interested in buying the property.
"When you're stuck in a position where you don't have any buyers, you'd give anything a try," Pardy said. "I wanted to sell the home so I could protect my credit and mitigate my losses."
Melissa Malinoski was looking for a new place to rent with her son, her boyfriend and her boyfriend's father. She found an ad on Craigslist for a house to rent in a great location in New London.
She responded to the ad and was contacted by Brad Barneys, who told her his company had purchased the property from the bank. Malinoski said she then made arrangements with a woman named Maria to see the home.
When Malinoski saw the home, she asked Maria about the "for sale" sign outside the house. Malinoski was told that the property needed to be rented for the sign to come down.
She returned to the property on Aug. 30 to hand over a $1,300 cashier's check to Maria, but Malinoski said she felt uneasy because the "for sale" sign was still outside. She called the real estate agent, she said, who told her the house was not for rent. Soon after, New London police arrived.
"I was never told that the place was in foreclosure," Malinoski said. "I'm glad I called before I handed over the money."
According to the Aug. 30 New London police report, Maria DelValle told police at the scene that she had worked for Bill, whom police later identified as Timothy William Burke, for just over a month.
She told police that she had seen Bill's paperwork for the house, which had included a management agreement that allowed the house to be rented.
DelValle got Burke on the line then handed over her phone to police. Burke told police he had met with the homeowner more than a month earlier and that Pardy had signed the agreement, the report said.
Burke faxed the management agreement to police. After reviewing it, police found that the agreement allowed Burke's company to rent the property. The case was closed.
While Pardy acknowledges the agreement did say the house could be rented, he was never told that it would be. He said the conversations he had with Burke only entailed buying the place.
Pardy's experience with Burke is similar to that of others interviewed by The Day. An investigation by The Day shows that Burke typically promises to buy a foreclosed property but doesn't, instead renting it without the knowledge of the homeowner and keeping the money.
Burke served 60 months in prison after being convicted in New Jersey in 2003 in an "equity skimming" scheme.
Pardy worked in clinical data management at Pfizer Inc. but was laid off late in 2012. He worked temporary jobs but he didn't find a permanent position until July 2013, with a pharmaceutical company in New York. The following month, Pardy, his wife and two children moved to Southbury.
"I tried to maintain both properties, but I just couldn't after a while," Pardy said.
The bank foreclosed on Pardy's New London house in September.
"He had no intention of purchasing my home," Pardy said of Burke. "He was taking advantage of the situation. It was a clear misrepresentation to extort money and use my house to make that happen."
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