Disbarred Tampa Bay lawyer Constantine Kalogianis charged with equity skimming

Article Courtesy of The Tampa Bay Times

By Susan Taylor Martin

Published February 21, 2019

  

LAND O' LAKES A Pasco County lawyer once caught on video as he purportedly altered mortgage records is in jail on a new felony charge while still facing several older ones.

 

Constantine Kalogianis, 55, was arrested Friday in a Pasco courtroom and charged with equity skimming, a type of mortgage fraud. According to a warrant, he bought at least two properties that were in default or were soon to be in default on their mortgages. He collected rents but kept the money for his own use instead of paying the lenders, the warrant said.

Kalogianis was jailed after a judge revoked his bond on other charges that were filed in 2016 but that have not yet gone to trial.

An unsuccessful congressional candidate in 2002, Kalogianis became one of Tampa Bay's most active foreclosure defense lawyers after the 2008 housing crash. But the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's office launched an investigation three years ago after a lender accused him of altering foreclosure case records to benefit homeowners he represented. Surveillance videos taken in a Pasco clerk's office in 2015 appeared to show him stamping something on papers in two different cases.

In 2016, Kalogianis was arrested on nine felony counts, accused of what State Attorney Bernie McCabe called a "systematic, ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud'' several lenders between 2013 and 2016. Due to the alleged forgeries, Kalogianis was able to persuade judges that Bank of America and other lenders didn't have standing for summary judgment. As a result, he collected more than $100,000 worth of fees as the prevailing attorney that he otherwise wouldn't have received, McCabe's office said.

While facing those charges, Kalogianis was disbarred in 2017 for his dealings with Jacqueline Drury, a woman in her 70s who had hired him to handle the sale of her late mother's home. An assistant to Kalogianis suggested that Drury "invest'' the $227,000 proceeds of the sale with the attorney.

Former Tampa Bay foreclosure defense lawyer Constantine Kalogianis is in the Pasco County jail on an equity skimming charge.


 

According to a court-appointed referee, neither the assistant nor Kalogianis ever made it clear to the "financially unsophisticated'' Drury what she was investing in. In reality, the money was a personal loan to Kalogianis secured by second mortgages on his then-home and lots in a Pasco subdivision where he was building a million-dollar house. When the lender foreclosed, Kalogianis stopped paying interest to Drury and failed to pay back the loan within the required five years. Drury later said losing the money left her so broke she had to give up cable TV and couldn't afford to see a dentist.

Court records show that Kalogianis now lives in Danvers, Mass., north of Boston. According to his Facebook page, he is a land permit consultant for Sandstone Development in Danvers.


NEWS PAGE HOME CORRUPTION