Tomer Dafna’s creditors file involuntary bankruptcy petition

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(iStock / Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

It’s collection time for accused fraudster Tomer Dafna.

More than two years after the investor and developer were indicted for participating in a mortgage fraud scheme, industry players Dafna borrowed money from are stepping out of the woods to recover the funds owed to them .

Two of Dafna’s creditors filed for her involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy last week, citing $ 1.3 million in claims, court records show. But that number could climb to more than $ 20 million if the parties behind many pending lawsuits and judgments against Dafna become creditors.

Dafna and her lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.

Dafna started her career in Brooklyn and Queens a few years before the Great Recession buying and flipping homes out of foreclosure. Between 2014 and 2019, he and his associates participated in short sales of these underwater properties, according to documents.

According to court records, the developer ran his business through a collection of entities – including Exclusive Homes Realty Group Inc., Homeowners Solutions Group LTD and 5 Borough Construction Management LLC – and often worked with three partners, Isaac Aronov. , Avraham Tarshish and Michael Herskowitz. .

But in 2019, all four, plus a fifth man, were indicted by the U.S. District Attorney for the Eastern District of New York on two counts of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, and five additional counts of wire fraud, for allegedly defrauding homeowners and their mortgage lenders, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The conspirators reportedly agreed to handle the short sales of foreclosed homes, but instead sold them to entities they controlled at “fraudulently depressed prices” before repairing them and reselling the properties for substantial profit.

A 2017 BuzzFeed survey of investor practices found that in a sample of 31 properties, the vast majority sold for more than four times the price paid by investors. Their success was bolstered by wealthy New Yorkers looking for cheap homes in emerging neighborhoods and, in part, by the marketing efforts of broker Ryan Serhant, who handled sales of 100 homes at Bed-Stuy. and Bushwick. He documented some of these sales on “Million Dollar Listing New York”. Serhant told BuzzFeed at the time that he was unaware the homes were purchased through foreclosure.

The case against Dafna and his co-defendants is ongoing. Each man faces a fine of $ 1 million and up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

In the meantime, private lenders are going after Dafna to recover funds they say they never repaid.

The creditor who started the Chapter 7 petition is Saddak Funding LLC, a Nassau County-based lender who granted Dafna a $ 400,000 mortgage in 2015 for the redevelopment of a two-story house in Bed-Stuy. . Dafna personally guaranteed the loan but never repaid it, the lender claims. Saddak’s attorney, Leo Jacobs, said the firm now owed $ 800,000.

Jacobs said he was aware of six other potential creditors, including Brooklyn owner David Israel. Court records show Israel is asking Dafna for more than $ 19 million in a November Kings County Supreme Court lawsuit and 2019 judgment. did not respond to requests for comment.

Other potential creditors include developer Joseph Freund, bridge lender Bayport Funding and lender Amida Financial, which has loaned money to Dafna through its Amida Special Opportunity Investments fund, according to pending lawsuits and judgments filed. against Dafna. Company representatives did not respond or were unavailable for comment.

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