Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced Friday that a Rockville Centre man has been charged with stealing more than $870,000 from two title insurance companies, leaving homeowners without mortgages, titles to their property, and liability coverage.
Gerard Timoney, 54, was arraigned this morning on two counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree. Bail was set in the amount of $100,000. Timoney was arrested Wednesday by DA Investigators.
Rice said that Timoney, a policy issuing agent and the former owner of Titleguard Land Services, Inc., formerly in Rockville Centre, was retained by Stewart Title Insurance Company and Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company to issue title insurance policies in their names. As a title abstract company, a substantial part of Titleguard’s business consisted of searching real estate titles, preparing certificates and reports of title, and appearing at real estate closings.
At the conclusion of these closings, Titleguard was responsible for issuing title insurance policies in the two title insurance company’s names, accepting deeds and mortgages for recording, accepting its customers’ funds to pay recording feeds and taxes, and often agreed to hold and secure the payment of real estate taxes.
Stewart conducted an audit in June 2010 and discovered that Timoney had not filed mortgages, paid mortgage taxes, or recorded deeds on 90 properties in the New York area from 2007 through 2010, including 38 in Nassau County. The loss to Stewart was more than $600,000.
Commonwealth’s August 2009 audit uncovered that Timoney had done the same thing on 12 properties from 2008 through 2009, including two in Nassau County. The loss to Commonwealth was more than $270,000.
Instead of setting aside the funds in a segregated trust or escrow accounts to pay those expenses, Timoney stole the more than $870,000 and used it to pay his office’s payroll, pay child support, buy flowers and gardening supplies, make credit card payments, pay for personal expenses, and to maintain his other properties and businesses.
By failing to record the deeds and mortgages, Timoney put his customers at serious risk. Homeowners whose deeds had not been filed could have had their homes sold out from underneath them and exposed Stewart and Commonwealth to potentially devastating liability.
“This defendant not only stole from the clients who trusted him with their money, but he created a situation where families could have lost their homes and insurance companies could have faced additional huge financial losses,” Rice said. “Purchasing a home in today’s economy is difficult enough without scam artists like Mr. Timoney picking the pockets of every hard-working man and woman unfortunate enough to have put their faith in him.”
Assistant District Attorney Vickie Curran of the Government & Consumer Frauds Bureau is prosecuting the case for the DA’s Office. Timoney is represented by Glen Hardy.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.