Getting to know Sophie June Torres (Sophie J. Torres)?

This article is part of our Pro Se Litigant series, case: Torres v. Torres – The People

Getting to know Sophie J. TorresMa Barker? While we’re not completely comparing the Defendant Sophie J. Torres to Ma Barker, as she never used a gun, there are some similarities. First, a little history. The Plaintiffs’ complaint and supporting documents claim that when they came back to Massachusetts, they were going to withdraw the $150,000 that was left with the late Jesse E. Torres, Jr. for safe keeping, and it was missing, admittedly taken by the Defendant Sophie June Torres. The Plaintiffs’ Verified Complaint alleges that she has been accused of taking funds from family members resulting in lawsuits filed against her, on at least three occasions. More on this later.

Reliance on Contract: Based on a contract with the Defendant Sophie J. Torres, the Plaintiffs’ Verified Complaint states that they spent nearly all of their personal funds to protect the Torres family home of generations from falling down due to lack of maintenance. After signing a permanent transfer of property rights over to the Plaintiff Jesse E. Torres III, by means of a Contract Will, she conspired with her grandson, a self-proclaimed millionaire, Jesse Stockwell (A.K.A. Jesse E. Torres IV, Jesse E. Stockwell), to breach that contract. Could it be that, when the Torres family home went from costing more to demolish to being a profitable rental, as seems the case here, greedy family members came out of the woodwork to get a piece of the pie by any means possible?

Court History: Before going on, we believe our readers need to understand the parties’ history. At first glance, Sophie J. Torres appears to be a sweet old woman, Jesse Stockwell (A.K.A. Jesse E. Torres IV, Jesse E. Stockwell) appears to be a successful businessman and graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Donald Francis Torres is just a retired plumber living in Mexico for years. At least that’s how the author envisioned them, until he started digging.

The Age of Innocence: Little old ladies usually conjure up thoughts of the smell of home cooked meals, smiles and pleasant memories. However, bad people in their thirties can grow up to be bad people in their nineties.

Sophie’s History: The Plaintiffs Verified Complaint goes into great detail on how:

  1. the Defendant Sophie J. Torres used $65,000 from the estate of her late mother-in-law for her own benefit. The funds were held in the Falmouth Bank & Trust and Norman Clarkson, then vice president of the bank, is a witness with personal knowledge of these facts. This was never denied by any of the Defendants or their attorney.
  2. Barnstable Probate Court records show that when Sophie’s sister, Lillian Souza (A.K.A. Lillian Sousa) died, she left no Will. The Verified Complaint clearly states that the wishes of Lillian Souza were that her home was to be left to her niece, “Penny” Bairos, who had lived with her in that home when she was young. It further states that Lillian’s wishes were well known in the family. This is borne out by records in Barnstable Probate Court where 10 – 15 family members filed a lawsuit against Defendant Sophie J. Torres, who had manipulated her other sister, into naming her the executor of the estate. The Defendant Sophie J. Torres appears to have settled the case, and while receiving a larger share than the rest, from the sale of the home (+/-$135,000), did pay the balance to the family members that sued her.
  3. The Plaintiffs arrived back in Massachusetts after living on the West Coast to find that the$150,000 that had been left with Jesse E. Torres III’s late father, Jesse E. Torres Jr. for safe keeping, was missing. In the Verified Complaint and supporting documents, it is claimed that the Defendant, Sophie J. Torres transferred the money to her personal account at Sovereigns Bank. No Defendant has denied this claim. It is alleged that Mary C. Torres, Sophie’s Adopted Daughter, who is a bookkeeper at Soft As A Grape, had knowledge of and/or assisted in that transfer.
Validating the Facts: The primary part of the lawsuit specifically upheld by the Massachusetts Court of Appeals, stated in part:

“It is undisputed that Jesse has available to him now a viable action in quantum meruit. Because the contract specifies that Jesse’s damages will be the very monies and interest he loaned to his parents…” –  Appeals Court Decision.

The Verified Complaint stated that Dad, Plaintiff Jesse E. Torres III’s father, in 1983, had a life altering accident while trying to survive financial devastation from a partnership with Keven Mann. Allegedly, Mann fled pending criminal charges for writing bad checks on the business (Torres AMC and Jeep), for which he had become a partner together with Jesse E. Torres Jr. These criminal acts had placed not only the business in danger, but also the various commercial properties owned by Dad and the Defendant Sophie J. Torres, as there was no money to pay their mortgages. Mr. Torres spent 2-1/2 months in intensive care, and an additional month in the hospital.

There’s no question that, in the contract signed by Defendant Sophie J. Torres, she agreed to owning her son, Plaintiff Jesse E. Torres III, an amount in excess of $1.6 million dollars, for monies loaned to her and her late husband to save their properties, pay off their debts and provide a weekly check for many, many years.

Three Questions: Like any Court case, determining the facts comes down to the credibility of the parties. While the Plaintiffs’ documents clearly are in their favor, other items entered as written testimony should be closely examined for truth. Sometimes the other facts surrounding a case provide the logical conclusion and answers. As in any court case: Follow The Money.

  1. In 2005, Defendant Sophie J. Torres appears to have started work as a school bus assistant. While certainly a job to be proud of, would it pay off a loan in excess of $1.6 million dollars? And what did she do before 2005? Jesse E. Torres IV did not start Debtmerica, LLC until 2006 and Mary C. Torres was working in a minimum wage job. Where was the money to support Sophie coming from?
  2. Why were five heavy weight documents presented to prove that Defendant Sophie J. Torres was capable of entering into a contract?
    1. from her doctor,
    2. from her neighbors (a cop & his wife),
    3. Federal Certificate of HECM Counseling,
    4. an Affidavit by a Massachusetts Notary Public (free act and deed),
    5. and a Certificate of Acknowledgment.
  3. The lawsuit that ensued has gone on since July 21, 2011, survived an appeal and will more likely than not escalate. In fact, when we asked the Plaintiffs, they said that they are considering filing the R.I.C.O. charges in Federal District Court where they are more familiar with them and International Criminal Organizations. The real question here is, who among the Defendants is paying for the legal bills?
Three Conclusions: While we’re pretty sure you have already come up with your own conclusions to the above three questions, here are ours:
  1. The $1.6 million could only have come from the Defendant Sophie J. Torres’ son,
    the Plaintiff Jesse E. Torres III.
  2. We believe the “belt and suspender” caution with which the Plaintiff Jesse E. Torres III treated his mother, Sophie J. Torres, in requiring the five documents, came from the fact that he obviously did not trust her. And in light of her current breach of contract as well as how she treated her other relatives based on past lawsuits, documents and their own testimony, it appears he had good reason not to trust her.
  3. We believe the answer to who is paying the legal bills is a no-brainer: could it be self-proclaimed millionaire, Defendant Jesse E. Torres IV (A.K.A. Jesse Stockwell, Jesse E. Stockwell) and Debtmerica, LLC? The real question here is why?
As to the question, “Who is Sophie June Torres?”, our conclusion after our extensive research is, if not Ma Barker, certainly not as sweet an old lady as, we would guess, she would like you to believe. The real question is, What do you think?
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