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A Penny Over

397 pages4 hours


October 2010, a gorgeous foreclosed mansion in the exclusive San Francisco Bay Area suburb of Walnut Creek is auctioned off on the front steps of the Contra Costa County Courthouse. The eye-popping minimum bid of $70,000 tantalizes the crowd of bidders with an equal amount of uncertainty and confusion. Brian Taylor, a mortgage broker turned savvy real estate speculator, quietly makes the winning—and only—offer of “a penny over” the asking price. Unfortunately, this screaming deal of the century soon turns into a financial nightmare for Brian when he realizes the defaulted owner of this spectacular house, Sammy Savelli Jr., is the ringleader of one of the largest and most sophisticated foreclosure scams to ever hit the Bay Area and California.
Savelli’s scheme assumed no one would actually bid on his house, much less take ownership. What follows is an epic, roller-coaster thriller, with suspense, hope, frustration, humor, excitement, and despair at every turn. As Brian tries desperately to maintain legal control of his crown jewel with the assistance of his small-time attorney, Carl Freck, he’s determined not to be a victim. Putting his family at the financial brink in his quest for justice, Brian begins to piece together an intricate, multi-billion dollar foreclosure scam that ruthlessly victimizes anyone directly or indirectly in its path, leaving chaos and financial destruction in its wake throughout California. With painstaking research and dogged determination, Brian unearths the scope of the scam and realizes it’s much larger and intricate than he could have ever imagined. One by one, the shadowy participants who’ve given the scam the appearance of validity are exposed by Brian—one of whom turns out to be an unassuming individual that Brian and Carl have played basketball with over the years at their private gym.
As Brian digs deeper, he and his bumbling attorney realize the consequences of their maverick attitudes. The civil suit they’d brought against their adversaries turns into a train wreck of disappointment at every stage. It becomes clear that Savelli and his cronies will go to any limits or expense to get this property back and keep their scheme from being exposed, while being equally determined to flip the script and destroy Brian and Carl in the process.
-Based in part on a true story-

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