NEW YORK -- Nearly two dozen Brooklyn families are on the verge of losing their homes because a developer sold them condos, then allegedly took off with their cash and never paid the bank.
CBS2's Alecia Reid reports, state and local leaders are now vowing to help protect these families and keep them in their homes.
Twenty immigrant families, chasing the American dream, are now holding on to hope as they await their fate.
"Some paid as little as say $50,000, some over $100,000, some $200,000. The highest was close to $500,000," said attorney Edward Cuccia.
They paid cash, over $4 million total, to developer Steven Wu, who they trusted for condo units inside an Ovington Avenue building in Bay Ridge. But now he's gone missing and foreclosure documents from the bank are piling up.
"This developer ran away. He took their money and skipped town," Cuccia said.
Families joined forces in a class action lawsuit and, in May of this year, won their judgements against the developer. But that's separate from the foreclosure sale another judge approved three months earlier.
"I just don't wanna cry because the reason that we stand up here is not our fault," said Kris Chan, the daughter of one of the fraud victims.
The building will be auctioned off next week, then families will face possible eviction. State and local officials have stepped in to help stop the process.
"This is about doing what's right by the people that were fleeced and were defrauded," Councilmember Justin Brannan said.
All legal avenues have been exhausted. The focus is now on stalling the upcoming auction.
"We need to pause the auction, and so our primary focus right now is going to be elevating the voices that are in this room to create pressure to pause the auction," Sen. Andrew Gounardes said.
This has been a years-long process, trying to prevent families from losing their homes and life savings.
"My father is 88 years old. There are newborn babies in the building," said Chin Tan, the son of a fraud victim.
CBS2 reached out to the developer's lawyer multiple times and haven't heard back.
The victims' attorney says it would be a miracle if they see their money again. In the meantime, officials are scrambling to see if they can find funds to help the families save their homes.
for more features.