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Feb 25, 2009 10:55 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Bank sues former Suffolk County Legislator George Guldi, alleges mortgage fraud

Feb 25, 2009 10:55 AM

Wachovia Federal Savings Bank has filed a civil lawsuit against former Suffolk County Legislator George Guldi claiming that he pocketed about $1.8 million as part of a mortgage fraud scheme involving a Water Mill home owned by his late father and appraised at $3.5 million, according to court documents.

Two weeks ago, Mr. Guldi’s Westhampton Beach law office on Mill Road was searched by officials from Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota’s office as part of an ongoing mortgage fraud investigation. William Moran, an attorney at McCarter & English law firm in Manhattan who is representing Wachovia, said that Mr. Spota’s ongoing investigation is related to the lawsuit that bank officials filed against Mr. Guldi last week.

The civil lawsuit, which was filed in Suffolk County Supreme Court in Riverhead last Thursday, February 19, charges that Mr. Guldi pocketed most of the money that had been secured by Bulant “Bill” Akpinar, a co-defendant listed in the suit, to buy a property on Deerfield Road last spring that was appraised for $3.5 million and previously owned by Mr. Guldi’s late father, Walter. He died in 2006 at the age of 88.

“We assert claims of mortgage fraud,” Mr. Moran said. “We allege that [Mr.] Guldi was involved in the scheme which misled Wachovia into believing it was lending funds to an individual to purchase a certain property in the Hamptons worth $3.5 million.”

Noting that Wachovia is referring all inquiries about the litigation to him, Mr. Moran said the bank is charging that Mr. Guldi kept the majority of the mortgage payment—about $1.8 million—for himself and that the deed for the Deerfield Road home was never transferred to Mr. Akpinar when he allegedly purchased the home last May. According to Mr. Moran, the 4,000-square-foot Water Mill home, which has four bedrooms, four bathrooms and is located at 1999 Deerfield Road, is now owned by a corporation called 2027 Deerfield Ltd. Mr. Guldi is listed as the contact for that corporation on the New York State Secretary of State website, and the lawsuit states that Mr. Guldi formed the corporation. Walter Guldi purchased the home in 2004, according to town records.

When reached on Friday afternoon, Mr. Guldi said he had not yet reviewed his copy of the lawsuit, which he just received earlier in the day. “If someone gave me $1.8 million, I would have remembered it,” said Mr. Guldi before declining to elaborate further.

The same day, Mr. Guldi said he briefly flipped through the lawsuit, which he described as a “telephone-book” sized document, and saw “things that purport to be my signature but do not look like it.” Mr. Guldi could not be reached this week.

Mr. Moran explained that there are two foreclosure actions currently pending on the Water Mill home—a fact that would have prevented Wachovia from ever awarding the mortgage, had the bank been aware of the situation. He said that the bank’s closing agent, Weiss and Weiss in Garden City—another defendant in the lawsuit—should have alerted Wachovia of the pending foreclosures. Officials at Weiss and Weiss did not return calls this week.

Mr. Akpinar, who could not be reached for comment, still owns a home on Eastland Drive in Glen Cove that Mr. Moran said was supposed to be sold as a condition of the mortgage to purchase the Water Mill property. The lawsuit states that another condition required that Mr. Akpinar, who has known Mr. Guldi for at least eight years, also sell his 2005 Mercedes-Benz CLK 500, which he has not done.

The complaint states, however, that Mr. Akpinar disavowed the Wachovia mortgage and told the Glen Cove Police Department that his identification had been stolen. A police report filed on August 4, 2008, indicates that Mr. Akpinar’s attorney, Scott Moore of Manhattan, informed his client that his identity had been stolen. According to the complaint, Mr. Akpinar told police that someone stole his identity to “impersonate him and sell his residence at ... Eastland Drive [in] Glen Cove and also to purchase a residence at 2027 Deerfield Road ... without his knowledge or authorization.”

Mr. Moore could not be immediately reached for comment.

“I’m looking forward to getting him under oath,” Mr. Moran said of Mr. Akpinar. “I want to get to the bottom of many questions myself.”

Mr. Moran explained that Wachovia is seeking, in the very least, to re-possess the 1999 Deerfield Road property from 2027 Deerfield Ltd., Mr. Guldi’s corporation. The bank may be entitled to more if the court determines that a mortgage fraud scam did occur, Mr. Moran explained.

One of Mr. Guldi’s attorneys, Katherine Huang of Manhattan, said she was aware of the lawsuit, but could not comment on it before she discussed it with Mr. Guldi. Mr. Guldi’s other attorney, John Diffley of Whitestone, did not return calls.

Robert Clifford, a spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, said Friday that he was unable to confirm whether or not the lawsuit filed by Wachovia was related to the ongoing mortgage fraud investigation that is being conducted by Mr. Spota. Earlier this month, Mr. Guldi’s law offices in Westhampton Beach were searched by the District Attorney’s office for records relating to real estate documents, such as transactions, mortgage processing files and mortgage loan applications. Investigators ended up confiscating about 18 boxes of files from the law firm.

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Yikes! I'll bake a cake with a file in it!
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Feb 21, 09 6:28 PM
"It's about time." What goes around comes around.
Clorac (East Quogue)
By Carol (109), East Quogue on Feb 21, 09 6:44 PM
Please stop picking on George
By eastquogueguy (22), East Quogue on Feb 21, 09 11:14 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By eastquogueguy (22), East Quogue on Feb 21, 09 11:14 PM
This is really bizarre. I dont think that 2027 could ever had been worth $3.5. Something is fishy here. Wachovia should look into the whole deal. I wonder who the loan officer/ mortgage broker is and appraiser? It takes more than one to tango. As time goes on I bet there will be more stories like this on the East End as the market winds down.
By North Sea Citizen (538), North Sea on Feb 22, 09 7:12 AM
Look around Mr DA - there was plenty of this - and look in some of the lower valued areas of the Town - This practice was going on for a long time and there are a number of prominent names involved.
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on Feb 22, 09 11:06 AM
Not only prominent names. This is one of the reasons all the honest people are broke. Every time I hear of another one finally caught I get angry and think of all the others still out there.
By local (106), north sea on Feb 22, 09 11:14 AM
" Carol " Would you please explain your comment ?
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Feb 22, 09 3:08 PM
PrivateerMatt,
My comment leaves many areas for many to think about.

clorac (East Quogue)
By Carol (109), East Quogue on Feb 22, 09 7:23 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Frank Wheeler (1811), Northampton on Feb 23, 09 1:39 AM
I have known George for a long time. I have never had reason to believe he would involve himself in anything dishonorable. Let's say we give him the benefit of his Constitutional rights. He is Innocent until proven guilty.

While our beloved country weathers these difficult times, we must, at all costs, maintain the integrity of the Courts, and allow our judicial system to sort out the facts. The Banks are in all of these deals up to their necks and couldn't cash the checks fast enough ...more
By Mashed Potatos (4), Belleair Bluffs on Feb 24, 09 12:00 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By peasonearth (1), Water Mill on Feb 28, 09 10:36 PM
Carol is so right. What goes around comes around. George Guldi has continuously been involved in questionable deals.
By peasonearth (1), Water Mill on Mar 27, 09 6:11 PM
Why investigation and lawsuit always occurs after they are not in position?If the problem existed, why they can't take effective measure to solve it?
By Settlement Loan (1), dgegeg on Aug 25, 10 5:16 AM