Northwestern legal clinic and Reverend Robin Hood partner to represent mortgage fraud victims
Reverend Robin Hood, a West Side community activist and founding member of Mothers Opposed to Violence Everywhere (MOVE), and attorneys from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Bluhm Legal Clinic will partner on behalf of victims of Mark Diamond, a Chicago man who has been charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois with defrauding more than 120 homeowners in a reverse mortgage scheme.
“Financial exploitation of vulnerable victims is unacceptable. It is particularly egregious when the perpetrators target elderly, African-American homeowners in a community that has endured much and suffered much, whose sole asset of significance is the equity in their homes,” said Juliet Sorensen, director of the Bluhm Legal Clinic. “The Bluhm Legal Clinic is committed to representing the victims of Mark Diamond and his co-schemers in foreclosure and eviction proceedings arising from the mortgage fraud.”
Attorneys from the Bluhm Legal Clinic will represent Diamond’s victims free of charge. They are already working with some impacted individuals and are encouraging any additional individuals seeking representation in connection with Diamond’s fraud to contact them at 312-503-1473 or ClinicDiamondCases@law.northwestern.edu.
The announcement held on Monday, Jan. 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, at William Penn Elementary School had special significance.
“William Penn Elementary School is where Martin Luther King had his first community meeting in Chicago,” Hood said. “He also stayed over across the street, and that’s where his children went to school while he was living in Chicago. But the most significant thing is that he was working on fair housing.
“This is our opportunity to stay in line with the work that Dr. King did in the city of Chicago to try to develop fair housing for everyone. We’re going to announce that we’re working with victims of now-indicted Mark Diamond’s predatory lending and home improvement scams, and it’s an honor to be able to do so on Dr. King’s birthday.”
In addition, MOVE honored former Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan with the Lillie Williams Award for her extensive work on consumer protection during her tenure.
Williams was a West Side resident who nearly lost her home to foreclosure after Diamond took almost $120,000 from her. She helped bring the Office of the Attorney General and the media’s attention to Diamond’s scheme before she passed away in 2016. State Senators Jacqueline Collins, the chief sponsor of the Reverse Mortgage Protections Act of 2015, and Patricia Van Pelt, who has a number of Diamond’s victims living in her district and has been a strong supporter, also were honored.