Kimberly Miller, Palm Beach Post

For some, it was the last hope to keep their homes and so they listened to the pitch rather than their gut.

They paid thousands of dollars, deeded their homes to a land trust company, and waited for the payout — a canceled mortgage, lower monthly payments, regained equity in their homes.

Foreclosure defense attorneys doubted the soundness of the trusts’ legal maneuvering. Trust managers assured they’d never lost a case. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi called it a “scam.”

She shut down 12 South Florida land trusts and related companies on Tuesday, freezing the assets of the firms and their owners and leaving scores of homeowners unsure of their next step or how to get their deeds back. Although owners may no longer have title, they still owe the note, or debt, to the bank.

“I had an uneasy feeling about it, like if it was too good to be true, it probably was,” said Lee County resident Irene Arcario, who is one of an estimated 290 homeowners statewide who signed their deeds over to the trusts. “I have a real sick feeling in my stomach right now.”

Arcario said she wanted to cancel her deal with Fidelity Land Trust Co. weeks ago when she started getting bills saying she owed it $900-a-month on top of $3,000 she paid in the beginning.

“They persuaded me to stay in the program,” Arcario said about the company, which has a Boca Raton address in state records. “Then I got a letter saying I needed to pay them for foreclosure defense.”

Read more here

Also see See I Told You Land Trust Were Scams

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