Mentally incapacitated Bronx woman returns home following housing scam

A mentally challenged Bronx woman whose husband kicked her out of her life-long house in 2009 at 1055 Edison Avenue in Throgs Neck has finally returned home, the Bronx Times reported. The woman, Geraldine Panattieri, had married a man 20 years her junior named Joseph Lillard without realizing it. Lillard had Panattieri sign a quick-claim deed for her home for $10. Lillard took over the home and Panattieri was forced to the street.

In June 2010, Judge Wilma Guzman of the Bronx County Supreme Court ruled that Panattieri was incapacitated both when she married Lillard and when she signed her home to him, the Times said. The marriage was promptly voided and Lillard was evicted from the house. But Panattieri first moved in this month.

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“It seemed like every step we took there was an obstacle placed in our way, and it took a really long time,” Panattieri’s attorney said. “It points to a systemic problem,” saying he knows of other similar cases involving family members taking advantage.

An attempt by Bronx District Attorney Rob Johnson to bring criminal action against Lillard failed. He reportedly left the house in bad shape, but the community donated both labor and furniture to spruce it up for Panattieri’s homecoming. [Bronx Times]