Hotel investors claim mortgage scheme cost them $1.5M

Kelly Holleran Sep. 19, 2011, 11:42am


Investors in a hotel claim they lost $1.5 million when three Harris County residents engaged in a mortgage conspiracy.

Midtown Plaza Hotel, Manzoor Hasan, Nadeem Nasir and Dr. Mohammed A. Saeed filed a lawsuit Sept. 9 in Jefferson County District Court against Syed R. Mohiuddin, American National Title Co., George J. Prappas, Jennifer Sydenham, Mutual Hospitality Group, Shahzad Ibrahim and Sharyer Ibrahim.

"These Defendants through fraud, forgery and outright theft, obtained $1,560,000 from Plaintiffs that was transferred for the purpose of buying real property in Jefferson County, Texas," the suit states. "Defendants converted the money for their own use and Plaintiffs never received title to the property."

In their complaint, the plaintiffs claim they became interested in buying hotel property on N. 11th Street in Beaumont. Mohiuddin, who was a real estate advisor, informed them of the hotel's availability and promised to help them purchase it for $6.5 million, according to the complaint.

After purportedly obtaining a commitment of title insurance for the property, Mohiuddin convinced the plaintiffs he could seal the deal if they could make a down payment of $1.56 million, the suit states.

The plaintiffs agreed to the deal and met the defendants at offices "replicating a title agency" to close on the property, the complaint says.

However, the plaintiffs have since learned that the entire closing process was invalid. In fact, no sale ever occurred, they claim.

"Unbeknownst to Plaintiffs and not listed on the title commitment was a deed of trust executed by Mohiuddin on behalf of Imagine Hospitality for the benefit of the Defendant Mutual Hospitality Group purporting to grant a lien against the Property," the suit states. "The lien was specifically subject to and inferior to the lien of Sterling Bank."

In their eight-count complaint, the plaintiffs allege violations of the Texas Theft Liability Act, conversion, fraud, conspiracy, statutory fraud in a real estate transaction, breach of fiduciary duties, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duties and disregard of the corporate fiction against the defendants.

The plaintiffs seek unspecified damages, plus the imposition of a first lien against the property in the amount of $1.56 million, the imposition of a trust in favor of the plaintiffs of the property and other relief the court deems just.

Jeffrey Wells Oppel of Oppel and Goldberg in Houston and Scott C. Crutchfield of Germer Gertz in Beaumont will be representing them.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. D190-891

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