Just five years out of law school, Gennady Litvin ran a bustling legal practice that took in millions of dollars from distressed homeowners who hoped they could avoid foreclosure.
The Litvin Law Firm grossed $5.2 million in 2013, much of it from financially strapped clients who paid $500 a month or more for help negotiating lower mortgage rates or other legal assistance to keep them from losing their homes. That year, Litvin drew a salary of $466,477, according to court filings.
But the Brooklyn, New York, law firm’s fortunes soured as it faced repeated accusations of fraud and other illegal conduct in complaints filed by state regulators and disgruntled clients, some of whom were low-income and minority homeowners who lost their property after trusting the firm. In March and April 2015, Litvin and the firm both filed for bankruptcy, leaving more than 4,500 potential creditors, mostly former clients.
“There was a ton of money that he made and where that money has gone, we don’t know,” said Cleveland lawyer Geoff McCarell.
McCarell represented Branko Perisic, of Parma, Ohio. Perisic ran a small trucking firm that fell on hard times as fuel prices spiked and demand for his services fell off during the recession. In 2011, he hired the Litvin firm to get him a break on his home mortgage.
Perisic paid a total of $4,760, but got nothing but stall tactics and unmet promises as his finances worsened, according to a lawsuit he filed.
In April 2015, a Cuyahoga County judge awarded Perisic $287,575. Most of the award was to punish Litvin for “fraudulent and/or deceptive conduct, and his willful, reckless and/or grossly negligent breaches of care and/or ethical duties to plaintiff,” according to the court docket.
But because of the bankruptcy case the chance of Perisic getting paid is “slim to none,” according to his attorney.
Litvin, who lists his current practice address as the Law Office of Yuriy Moshes in Brooklyn, would not discuss his legal career.