There are a great number of strategies, tactics and schemes to avoid foreclosure and eviction from properties. Unfortunately this is brought out schemers who are taking advantage of the vulnerability of people whose emotional status is fragile at best and whose judgment is clouded. There are two things you need to watch out for. One is a large upfront retainer from an attorney or a nonattorney promising various results that could never be guaranteed; the goals of such a retainer must be set forth in the retainer agreement, if you are hiring an attorney. If you are hiring a company that is not a law firm, they are probably not entitled to any retainer at all. Whether you are hiring an attorney or anyone else you should do your research and make sure you know the background of the service provider.
The link below relates to another scheme which is disturbing. In these schemes the homeowners convinced that they will somehow be protected by issuing a quitclaim deed to a service provider who makes various promises by which the homeowner may obtain relief. Any deal which requires you to deed your property to a third party as a condition to the service provided is probably fraudulent in origin. As the article shown below demonstrates, you are only clouding your own title which has very little likelihood of being considered anything other than a gimmick by a court of law. If anyone promises you a magic bullet it is highly advisable to consult an attorney who is licensed in the jurisdiction in which the property is located before you make any decisions or take any action.
Deeds Transferring Title to Fidelity Land Trust Company, LLC
Are Rescinded and Deemed Null and Void
The Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division (‘the Office”) has asked FLTA to alert our members and other title industry stakeholders that certain titles to homeowners’ residences deeded to The Fidelity Land Trust Company, LLC (“Fidelity Land Trust”), an LLC unrelated to Fidelity National Title Insurance Company, may be clouded. Assistant Attorney General Fulvio Joseph Gentili reports that Final Judgment has been issued against Fidelity Land Trust in the case of Office of the Attorney General v. Edward Cherry, et al, Case No. 12-269807(12)(17th Jud. Cir.), a case which involves a scheme that resulted in the execution and/or recording of a large number of quitclaim deeds or warranty deeds that have since been declared null and void.
The ruling of Office of the Attorney General v. Edward Cherry, et al may affect real property deeds recorded in many of the Clerk’s Offices in Florida, and therefore a copy of the Final Judgment has been recorded in each of Florida’s 67 County Clerk’s Offices. A copy of the Final Judgment and a copy of recording information for all 67 County recordings are attached.
Mr. Cherry and others were principals in Fidelity Land Trust. Fidelity Land Trust solicited Florida homeowners to enter a program it offered that would allegedly allow the homeowners to cancel their current mortgage in return for the payment of thousands of dollars in upfront fees. Once in Fidelity Land Trust’s program, the homeowner was required to deed his or her home to Fidelity Land Trust, which would then file a quiet title lawsuit that claimed that the existing mortgage was not valid. Many of these quiet title actions have since been held to be frivolous and without merit in numerous state and federal court decisions, and homeowners who deeded their properties to Fidelity Land Trust are finding that they have a cloud on the title.
On December 17, 2013, Broward Circuit Judge Michael Gates ruled that: 1) Fidelity Land Trust’s acts and practices are unfair and/or deceptive in violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and 2) all quitclaim deeds or warranty deeds executed and/or recorded subsequent to January 1, 2010 in the State of Florida transferring title to The Fidelity Land Trust Company, LLC as grantee in fee simple or as trustee or in other fiduciary capacity, are rescinded and deemed null and void ab initio (from the beginning). The Court entered a permanent injunction against Fidelity Land Trust enjoining any further attempts by Fidelity Land Trust to cancel previously recorded mortgages. The effect of this Final Judgment on title to real estate deeded to Fidelity Land Trust is significant.
By alerting FLTA, its members and others in the title insurance industry that a copy of this judgment is in all County Records Offices, the Office hopes that homeowners affected by the Fidelity Land Trust scheme who seek to remove any cloud on the title to their property may be able to do so easily based on the Court’s recorded Final Judgment.