Yesterday, the Washington Post published Michael Sallah and Debbie Cenziper’s exhaustive account of their attempt to identify the owners of a firm that threatened to foreclose on hundreds of residents of the District of Columbia.
Aeon Financial has been the most aggressive buyer of tax liens in the District, purchasing over 1,000 of them and attempting to foreclose on over 700 homeowners. Its operating procedure is to cold-contact homeowners whose liens they have purchased and demand not only the back taxes, but additional legal fees that often amount to three times the tax debt.
Eventually, The Post tracked ownership of the company back to Mark Alan Schwartz, a lawyer who claimed only to be representing it.
Between 2005 and 2009, with Schwartz serving as its chief legal representative, Aeon bought over 1,300 tax liens of District residents, then took these residents to court demanding payment of the lien plus legal fees. In one day in 2009, Aeon filed over 260 cases.