Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Massachusetts

About 9 years ago (May 2006) when I was residing abroad, my brother called me and asked me to lend him $230,000 to purchase a house in Florida. His exact words were “ the doctor told me I have carpal tunnel syndrome and need to move to a warmer climate. I am moving down to Florida to help ease the pain in my hands. In cold weather my hands just hurt so much. The future is Florida. Florida real estate market is booming and plenty of work here. New England sucks”. I said but I need that money myself. I am going to buy a business when return to the USA. His exact words “You have to help me. I put $1,500 down and do not want to lose it. The house is situated in a good location. Nice yard. The house is seven years old. Within miles Orlando and many others. I have carpal tunnel and cold weather is doing a number on my hands. I have to move to a warmer climate and Florida is nice. Everything is completed and ready for the closing. I just need the funds and you have to help me. I said to him but if I am going to lend you that money, how am I able to buy a business?. His exact words “we are moving from Massachusetts to Florida in the next three (3) weeks. Once my arrival, I will find a mortgage lender, take out a loan on the house, and within a month pay you back the money”. I said Ok but the house will have my name on it until you pay me back the $ 230,000. His exact words “ Ok the house will be in your name until I pay you back the money. Wire me the money as soon as possible to do the closing. I don’t want to lose the offer on the house and my $1500 down payment”. I said where do I send the money? His exact words “ wire the money to West Springfield Massachusetts ------- . I said why Massachusetts not Florida? His exact words” I am presently in Massachusetts. Once the money placed in my account, I wire it to Florida and catch the first flight to Florida to handle the real estate closing. I will contact you in the next few days”. I contacted my financial institution and requested wire transfer for the amount of $230,000 to his bank West Springfield, MA). Money wired on May 5, 2006. Money went into his account on or about May 6, 2006. A week later he called me and informed me things went well. Several weeks went by and I still have not received the money in my brokerage account. I contacted him and asked about my money. His exact words “I shopped around and all mortgage lenders offering high rates. I am not taking a mortgage at that rates. Give me time I know I could do better than that”. A little over a month after, I decide to call him and get update on the money. His exact words” I am back in Massachusetts”. I said why? He replied “I went back to the gasoline business”. I said you supposedly have severe carpal tunnel syndrome in your hands. He replied “I will have to learn to live with it. I will wear gloves to keep my hands warm during cold weather”. I said what are you going to do with the house? He replied “I rented to a nice couple. They will keep eye on it and maintain the property. I will visit them from time to time. I asked them to leave one room empty. I use it to stay when travel to Florida”. I said when am I going to get my money back? I need it. He replied “Don’t worry you will get your money. I am going to search for a better lender rates”. In the fall of that year (2006), he called me and I said let’s talk about Florida residential property. Why you borrowed the money from me not from a traditional lender. He replied “I tried but all asking high rates”. A few months after I start hear from him the housing market is declining, and if he sells it, he will lose money on the house. He said “the price of the house will go back up, just be patient. Rates are high to take out a loan”. is it too late to sue him? It was a scam by my brother from the start.

Asked on 8/15/15, 1:58 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Christopher Vaughn-Martel Charles River Law Partners, LLC

First of all, shame on you for lending somebody $230,000 without an agreement or writing of any kind, even if it is your brother. Assuming it was a loan, then non-payment when payment is due will provide you with the grounds to file a lawsuit. You have the right to file a legal action within 6 years of breach, which is typically defined as non-payment when payment becomes due. Legally, he has no right to rent your property, and you may have an action against him for rent during the period he lived there and for any rental income produced by the property. It is your home, according to these facts. You are going to need a lawyer and you are going to need a creative theory as to when repayment was to occur. Does your brother own any property here in Massachusetts? It hurts you tremendously that you have waited this long without doing anything. Do not delay any further. [email protected] | 617-357-4898

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Answered on 8/18/15, 4:34 am

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