AUSTIN – A woman who claimed she was defrauded out of $1.35 million from the sale of her West Austin condominium has won her lawsuit against Chicago Title of Texas LLC and other businesses.
A Travis County jury reached the verdict for Mari-Louise Larsen, a Danish citizen, finding that she was defrauded out of her condominium.
“This case was won significantly, but we expect an appeal,” Brian Hail, attorney for Larsen and partner with Gruber Elrod Johansen Hail Shank LLP, told The Record.
Larsen filed the fraud claim in 2013 against her ex-husband, Andre Jones, Chicago Title and other businesses.
The fraud scheme included falsifying power of attorney to complete contracts and forgery involving a promissory note.
Larsen met Jones in Austin in 2007 and the couple married in Denmark in 2009. While waiting to move to Austin, Larsen agreed to buying a luxury condominium in Austin with money from a family inheritance. Jones told Larsen that Texas law stated both of their names must be on the title, which was incorrect.
When Larsen and Jones decided to divorce years later, Jones put the property up for sale. He then had Chicago Title’s attorney to use falsified documents to close the sale without Larsen’s knowledge. Jones kept the money from the sale.
“This was one of the worst closings,” Hail said. “Jones is a con man in that he sold her condominium out from under her and pocketed the money.”
Hail said Chicago Title held much of the blame.
“You have to jump through hoops to get a house sold. There are numerous signatures required and her name wasn’t even on the contract,” Hail said. “Chicago Title should have helped prevent these things from happening but, instead, ignored them.”
Larsen is represented by Hail, Brian E. Mason and Gaby Gutierrez Rawlings.