Patrick Tira, an attorney who assisted Doheny in the case, says, “Adverse possession may not make as much sense as it did centuries ago. It is designed to make vacant property productive. It should not be turned into a business. And it certainly should not be used to target the elderly.”
That’s particularly true when plenty of money is at stake. Although it is only 1500 square feet, the 3811 Kendall Street house is worth $718,000, according to Zillow.com. A few years ago, it was worth more than double that, says Doheny, greatly because it is located in the desirable Crown Point area of Pacific Beach.
And what of Herbert, now in jail in Orange County? A federal grand jury charges that he persuaded straw buyers (relatives and friends) to buy real estate at inflated prices through his Gold Coast Realty operation. Herbert told them he would make all the payments. Then Herbert and his confreres would create “fraudulent loan packages,” according to the grand jury, that persuaded the lenders to finance the purchases. Herbert raked in the fees and commissions, and the straw buyers would quickly go into default. As foreclosures followed, mortgage lenders lost $2.5 million, says the government.
According to court documents, Herbert, 47, had threatened by phone to cut his wife’s head off. They are getting a divorce. Then, in Tennessee, he got a 23-year-old woman pregnant. She had earlier been convicted of theft and prostitution. Noting that Herbert had enrolled in a domestic violence program that also addressed alcohol and drug treatment, the magistrate judge on December 8 decided that he was a flight risk and he should be transported in custody back to Orange County for trial.
However his trial comes out, there is a nagging question: Will he make a third raid on that Kendall Street house?