Santacroce v. Bank of America, National Association et al
DECISION & ORDER granting pltf's 23 Motion for Default Judgment against defts Joya Star Life Inc and Selene Larissa Joya; that the Clerk of the Court is directed to enter judgment in favor of Santacroce against defts Joya Star Life Inc and Sel ene Larissa Joya in the amount of $284,000.00 plus the applicable rate of interest; and deft Bank of America, National Association is ORDERED to remit the remaining $265,985.00 balance of the funds to Santacroce. The Clerk of the Court is directed to enter a judgment accordingly and close the file. Signed by Judge David N. Hurd on 8/10/2017. (see)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
BANK OF AMERICA, NATIONAL
ASSOCIATION, SELENE LARISSA
JOYA, also known as John Doe, and
JOYA STAR LIFE INC, also known as
Flink Smith Star Lifeinc, also known as
John Doe Entity,
OFFICE OF JOEL A. SIEGEL
Attorneys for Plaintiff
217 Broadway, Suite 707
New York, NY 10007
JOEL A. SIEGEL, ESQ.
WILSON, ELSER LAW FIRM
Attorneys for Defendant Bank of
America, National Association
1133 Westchester Avenue
White Plains, NY 10604
ALEX J. CHASE, ESQ.
DAVID N. HURD
United States District Judge
DECISION and ORDER
On July 29, 2016, defendant Selene Larissa Joya ("Joya" or the "hacker") tricked
plaintiff Christopher Santacroce ("Santacroce" or "plaintiff"), who was trying to purchase
some real estate in Lake Placid, New York, into wiring $284,000.00 (the "Funds") to a bank
account ending in 3719 at defendant Bank of America, National Association ("BANA") under
the name of defendant Joya Star Life Inc. ("JSLI"). The hacker accomplished this feat by
falsely portraying herself as Flink Smith Law LLC ("Flink Smith"), the firm representing
plaintiff on his real estate transaction.
Santacroce and Flink Smith quickly discovered the fraud and reported it to plaintiff's
own banking institution as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"). Although JSLI
and/or the hacker managed to withdraw approximately $18,000 of the Funds, BANA has
frozen the balance of the Funds currently being held in JSLI's account: $265,985.
On March 20, 2017, Santacroce filed this civil suit seeking return of the Funds from
BANA. Based on additional information provided by BANA, plaintiff amended his complaint
to name JSLI and Joya as defendants on April 10, 2017. These additional defendants were
served two days later, on April 12, 2017. Neither has answered the amended complaint.
Plaintiff obtained entries of default against JSLI and the hacker from the Clerk of the Court
on May 12, 2017.
On July 10, 2017, Santacroce moved under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
("Rule") 55 seeking default judgment against JSLI and Joya. As relevant here, Rule 55
provides a two-step process for obtaining a default judgment. The
first step is to obtain an entry of default. When a party against
whom affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise
defend, a plaintiff may bring that fact to the court's attention. In such
circumstances Rule 55(a) empowers the clerk of the court to enter
a default. The next step requires the plaintiff to seek a judgment by
default under Rule 55(b).
Priestley v. Headminder, Inc., 647 F.3d 497, 504-05 (2d Cir. 2011).
Upon review of his amended complaint as well as his motion papers and supporting
documentation, Santacroce is entitled to the def ault judgment he seeks against JSLI and
Joya. However, as BANA points out in its own response to the motion, plaintiff's "only relief
against BANA is the turnover of the funds presently blocked by BANA in the [ ] account as a
result of [p]laintiff's claim." Chase Decl. ¶ 3.
Therefore, it is
1. Santacroce's motion for a default judgment against defendants Joya Star Life Inc
and Selene Larissa Joya is GRANTED;
2. The Clerk of the Court is directed to enter judgment in favor of Santacroce against
defendants Joya Star Life Inc and Selene Larissa Joya in the amount of $284,000.00 plus
the applicable rate of interest;
3. Defendant Bank of America, National Association is ORDERED to remit the
remaining $265,985.00 balance of the Funds to Santacroce.
The Clerk of the Court is directed to enter a judgment accordingly and close the file.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: August 10, 2017
Utica, New York.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?