Foreclosure Scam in South Florida

Today this article raised my attention.

It seems that fraudsters are enticing unknowing homeowner’s to deed their properties over to this company. NEVER DEED YOUR PROPERTY TO ANYONE.  These are scams!!

“A Sarasota nonprofit advertised as a government-sponsored foreclosure rescue is using its clients’ homes for a sweeping real estate scheme — delaying defaults through recurrent bankruptcy filings while renting the houses out, a Herald-Tribune investigation has found.

Keeping Kids in Their Home Foundation Corp. and related entities have enticed scores of severely delinquent borrowers from Tampa to Miami to hand over their deeds for just $100, while using dubious techniques to evade mortgage lenders and skirt taxes on those transactions.

The parents of famed wire-walker Nik Wallenda, real estate flippers, a karate sensei and a local pastor are among the borrowers who took out multiple loans against their homes during the housing bubble. When the market slumped and foreclosure was imminent, each turned to Aleksandr Filipskiy and his foundation for help.

Filipskiy has managed to stall those defaults for years by routinely transferring properties to new shell companies and nonprofits he creates, filing for bankruptcy protection under each entity to block the foreclosure proceedings.

All the while, he leases the distressed homes back to their troubled buyers, rents them to others and even lives in one with his family. His brother inhabits another, the Herald-Tribune’s investigation revealed.

“There’s a lot of misrepresentation here,” said Andrew Rose, a special agent supervisor with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. “Someone should never deed their house over to anyone without the bank’s consent. These guys are predators. It’s just sad and disgusting.”

Filipskiy maintains that his methods are not only legal, but also highly effective. With plans to expand, Filipskiy said he believes his program will soon become a progressive new approach to foreclosure defense.”

Do NOT buy these scammers’ pitches.  No matter how much they vehemently state that this process is not illegal, and they are not crooks, it is illegal and they are crooks!
It will not help you avoid foreclosure, nor save your home.  

It may actually complicate your case and prevent you from keeping your home since you are not in title!

Think about it this way, you are on the note and mortgage, responsible to pay that mortgage, but these shell companies and these scammers have legal title to your property.  They can go out and rent your property and collect all of the rent money.  They can kick you out of the property as title holders!!  They can stick you with a note/mortgage while they rent the property to unsuspecting tenants.

You are at there mercy, as even if you get a loan modification, you are not the title holder and have no right to live there without title; but are still stuck paying the modified mortgage!!!!!

PLEASE do not fall for this and seek a licensed Florida lawyer for assistance.

Importance of Hiring a Lawyer to Defend Foreclosure

Although as previously posted regarding the new expedited foreclosure bill, hiring a lawyer to defend your foreclosure goes beyond this new bill.

If you had a foreclosure filed against you after July 1, 2013 then the new foreclosure bill applies to your case and there are certain defenses to the complaint that you must raise right away.  Otherwise, you may lose these defenses that a lawyer could have prevailed on (or preserved the issue(s) for an appeal.

Too many times I see potential clients come to us and ask us to represent them late in the case.  The issue with this is likely the clients were already defaulted, which occurs when you do not respond to the compliant within 20 days of it being served on you by the sheriff/process server.  Once default is entered, it is incredibly difficult to reverse the default merely because you did nothing and did not consult a lawyer timely.

A recent Florida case, Yale Mortgage Corp. v. Blot, 107 So. 3d 1181 (Fla. 3d DCA 2013), held generally that if a borrower merely fails to hire a lawyer, the borrower cannot then come later and try to vacate the default.  This is a VERY important decision that should demonstrate that homeowners MUST seek counsel immediately upon being served or risk losing most of their defenses to the foreclosure.

The moral of the story?  DON’T WAIT to hire a lawyer.