A Rockville Centre man pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that he stole more than $870,000 from two title insurance companies, leaving homeowners without mortgages, titles to their property, and liability coverage.
Gerard Timoney, 54, arrested Wednesday and arraigned Friday on two counts of second-degree grand larceny. A judge set bail at $100,000.
"This defendant not only stole from the clients who trusted him with their money, but he created a situation where families could have lost their homes," said Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice. "Purchasing a home in today's economy is difficult enough without scam artists like Mr. Timoney picking the pockets of every hardworking man and woman unfortunate enough to have put their faith in him."
Timoney's lawyer, Glen Hardy, of Garden City, declined to comment.
Prosecutors said Timoney, a policy issuing agent and the former owner of Titleguard Land Services, Inc., was hired by Stewart Title Insurance Company and Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company to issue title insurance policies in their names.
Titleguard's responsibilities consisted of searching real estate titles, preparing certificates and reports of title, appearing at real estate closings, issuing title insurance policies in the two title insurance company's names, accepting deeds and mortgages for recording, accepting its customers' funds to pay recording feeds and taxes, and often holding and securing the payment of real estate taxes.
Both companies found that Timoney had not filed mortgages, paid mortgage taxes, or recorded deeds on many properties, resulting in a total loss of $870,000, prosecutors said.
Timoney used the money to pay his office's payroll, pay child support, buy flowers and gardening supplies, make credit card payments, pay for personal expenses, and to maintain his other properties and businesses.