In January 2004, the Goodmans sold their home in New Jersey, with the representation of their real estate attorney, Richard Pizzi, at closing. The Goodmans asked Pizzi to disburse $50,000 of their $325,000 in proceeds from the sale, and instructed him to hold the remainder in trust for the upcoming closing of their new home.
Unbeknownst to the Goodmans, Pizzi embezzled the funds.
In May 2004, Pizzi ordered a policy of title insurance for the Goodmans' new home from Stuart Title Company, which sent Pizzi a commitment to provide title insurance on the home, expecting that he would forward it to the Goodmans, according to court records. The commitment contained a disclosure to the effect that the buyers' attorney was not an agent of the title company.