Convicted conman who served time for grand larceny successfully sues his victims for $12M and wins

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NEW YORK CITY, NY – In a bizarre case involving the civil courts, a convicted conman who served time in prison for grand larceny that was related to a mortgage scheme, reportedly sued the victims of his case after leaving prison – and the courts awarded the convicted conman $12.5 million in the civil case.

Back in 2007, then-41-year-old Jacob Milton was arrested in connection with a scheme involving identity theft that led to numerous lines of credit being opened in the victims’ names and raking in over $1 million from the scheme.

Milton, who was a Queens-based mortgage manager, had apparently used his branch manager position at Griffin Mortgage to steal the identities of his victims who were coming in as first-time home purchasers.

Milton would eventually be sentenced to serve two to six years in prison after pleading guilty to grand larceny, where he’d eventually be let out of prison after serving three years.

Flash forward to August of 2021, and some of the victims of Milton’s crimes that landed him in prison have learned that they were not only sued by Milton – but that a judgement was already ordered instructing the family to pay Milton $12.5 million.

The family who was sued, consisting of Mayra Macias, Juan C. Alvarez, Juan B. Alvarez, Lorena Alvarez, Martha Viteri and Hector Sandoval, was reasonably shocked to learn about the judgement against them that was reached on August 5th.

Kate Alvarez, a family member of one of the victims, said she can’t wrap her head around the idea of Milton being able to successfully sue his victims:

“How can victims of his fraud ‘repay’ him this amount when their financial lives are still hurt by this?”

The pursued lawsuit by Milton apparently began roughly a year after he had gotten out of prison, where he reportedly filed a $50 million lawsuit against his victims, claiming that they had wrongly accused him of the crimes that he served time in prison for.

This family that was the subject of the $50 million suit years earlier initially hired an attorney by the name of Noah Goldstein to help with the case.

However, as time went on, Goldstein later abandoned the case and the family never wound up hiring a new attorney or responding to other orders that came from the judge directing them to appear in court.

Goldstein, who later reconnected with the family after this relevant update, claims that the family was oblivious to any orders to appear in court:

“The family said they had no idea a trial was scheduled and held, and a judgment awarded until last week. The jury, seeing an empty defendant’s chair, probably [thought] they [were] supposed to believe Milton and give him what he wants.”

John DeMaio, an attorney representing the now-55-year-old Milton, told the courts back in 2017 that he made repeated attempts to mail various documents to the victims of Milton’s crimes. By 2018, DeMaio made another court filing alleging that he has “no reason to believe Defendants will ever appear” in court.

The civil case eventually went before a jury in Justice Doris Ling-Cohan’s courtroom back in March 2019, and the case went on from there until the Alvarez family received notice this August that they needed to pay up $12.5 million to the man who victimized them.

Kate Alvarez claims this is the first her family had heard about the case ever going to court, saying that “no letter was ever received stating any court date or document saying they had to show up or else. Instead, they receive this first letter stating he won his case and [they] have to pay $12 million.”

The victims do have some recourse they could pursue with an attempt to have the judgement wiped or file an appeal.

To this day, Milton still stands by him being an innocent man and that his victims slandered him and that the case was mishandled by prosecutors.

This is a developing story.

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further insight into this developing case.

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Earlier in August, we at Law Enforcement Today shared a report about another man who seemingly is exploiting the civil courts out of California. 

This disabled man who is allegedly weaponizing civil suits has even attracted the attention of DA Chesa Boudin – and even the DA is looking at this matter to see what the criminal courts can do to this serial litigant. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A wheelchair-bound man has been accused by local small business owners in San Francisco’s Chinatown of essentially shaking down small businesses through dozens of lawsuits claiming violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The disabled man, described by CBS San Francisco as a “serial plaintiff”, is being represented by a law firm in California that has gained a notoriety for working with several serial plaintiffs in California, Potter Handy, LLP.

Orlando Garcia, a wheelchair-bound man, has been filing several lawsuits – dozens, in fact – lodged against small businesses along Grant Avenue and Irving Street, claiming the businesses failed to provide proper wheelchair access.

The lawsuits have become so frequent, and reeking of frivolousness in nature, that even District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s office is launching an investigation into the matter. Boudin has even gone on record himself, calling these lawsuits tantamount to extortion:

“They are exploited and extorting small businesses. Not to vindicate the critical rights or inclusion of the disabled, but rather to shake down and extort those who are already suffering in the wake of a horrific pandemic and a wave of anti-Asian and anti-Chinese hate across this country.”

Boudin added that serial filers like Garcia do nothing to “promote accessibility”, but instead work to get “payouts” from businesses:

“We are concerned that potentially frivolous lawsuits not only fail to promote accessibility or disability rights, but instead force businesses to either shut down or provide payouts to lawyers who have no interest in promoting disability rights.”

Jaynry Mak, owner of Dim Sum Corner who was one of the business owners sued by Garcia, said that the plaintiff wasn’t even trying to be a patron at her establishment when he visited with a tape measurer:

“You can see from the video that they have no intent of actually visiting the business to be a customer, they went around with like a tape measure. It’s kind of a shakedown for small mom-and-pop businesses.”

In Garcia’s suit against Mak and her business, he claims that the entrance to Dim Sum Corner doesn’t have a level landing and that outdoor dining areas aren’t wheelchair accessible.

A quick Google search of Orlando Garcia’s name along with the law firm that represents him (Potter Handy, LLP) or any of the attorneys that typically represent him from the firm (Dennis Price or Amanda Seabock) turns up dozens of these sorts of lawsuits filed.

Mark Rogers, the owner of Lola’s Chicken Shack on Park Street, is also a victim of Garcia’s weaponization of lawsuits alleging ADA violations. Much like DA Boudin calls these sorts of filings, Rogers said this is an act of “extortion”:

“To me, it’s extortion pure and simple. If I was incorrect in something I would want to fix it. If you gave me a ticket and said, you’ve got seven days, 14 days, whatever it may be, I’d do it gladly. That’s a win for me, a win for the handicapped person. But right now, it’s only a win for somebody who is laughing at the court system, which isn’t right.”

Right across the street from Lola’s Chicken Shack is Lauren’s Closet, a children’s consignment store. Colin Cross says that he too was hit with an ADA lawsuit from Garcia:

“July 15th around here is when things started to get back to normal. And now we get a lawsuit. It’s like come on, give us a chance to get back on our feet!”

In 2021 alone, Garcia has managed to file over 100 lawsuits.

These types of lawsuits are what some call “drive-by lawsuits”, an issue that has gained little public attention, but a worrisome practice that specifically uses the ADA as a club or cudgel to bleed business for thousands of dollars for minor infractions.

The sort of ADA legal filings that define “drive-by lawsuits” include violating regulations that stipulate the height of mirrors, width of parking spaces, or perhaps the angle of wheelchair ramps – the very sort of filings that Garcia and Potter Handy, LLP are crafting.

Dennis Price from Potter Handy, LLP doesn’t seem to feel bad in the least about the legal filings against small businesses recovering from the pandemic, saying that they’ve had 31 years to ensure total compliance to ADA guidelines:

“We are attorneys. This is a civil right that we specialize in…Every one of these cases are based on a legitimate violation. We would like them to stop and we’re going to make them stop”

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