8 on Your Side: Woman Victimized by Alleged Scammer - 8 News NOW

8 on Your Side: Woman Victimized by Alleged Scammer

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HENDERSON, Nev. - A few weeks ago, Sandra Berrigan's life turned upside down.

"I am living in an empty house, or should I say I am not living?" she said.

Berrigan put her home on the market. She planned to move to North Carolina to be with her daughter and grandchild. One day before closing, she says her whole life was robbed.

Her realtor needed Berrigan's trust documents to close the sale, but Berrigan didn't have a trust - or so she thought.

She soon discovered someone had taken her home right from under her, and she never knew it. The problem dates back to 2003.

"I had taken out a loan ten years ago," she said.

The loan came from Eric Alpert, a former real estate agent and lender whose license was revoked in 2004. Berrigan learned Alpert obtained ownership of her home.

"He basically took all of my information, my Social Security number, my name, everything about me and my home and put it in a trust deed," she said.

Berrigan no longer had the right to sell her home. She was stuck. "Basically, I didn't know what to do, where to turn," she said.

On April 17th, Berrigan obtained a quiet title to her home. Neither Alpert nor his lawyer showed up for the court hearing. Alpert says he didn't know about it until after it took place.

He says he only took over her property through trust, because Berrigan defaulted on the loan. Alpert says he cannot provide documentation to back up his claim, because he says police seized all of his records.

In 2009, the I-Team revealed Alpert allegedly did the same thing to many other families. Authorities charged him with 24 felony counts for taking over people's homes. He has not faced a trial, because his case keeps getting delayed.

"Every time he changes a lawyer, that's a delay in the system," said Berrigan's lawyer Becky Pintar. "Someone like Eric Alpert, that's a con man, knows how to work the system. They know how to drag things out, and they keep doing it."

"It's a white collar crime, but in my opinion, you can do a lot more damage with a ball point pen than you can a gun," Pintar added.

Berrigan spent thousands of dollars in legal fees to retrieve the title of her home. Unfortunately, her buyers withdrew their offer.

"This is economical homicide what the Alperts have done to me," she said.

Berrigan is trying to pick up the pieces and move on. She relisted her home and found a cash buyer.

Homeowners can take steps to prevent from becoming victims of scams like this. You can check the deed of your home at anytime on the recorder's website. If you see a discrepancy, you need to act.

If you have a problem you want investigated, contact 8 on Your Side at 702-650-1907.

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