Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Elderly Man Accuses Local Pastor Of Duping Him Into Signing Over Title To Home For A Loan, Then Selling Property Out From Under Him; Complaint To Cops Goes Nowhere, Told "It's A Civil Matter!"

In Miami Gardens, Florida, WPLG-TV Channel 10 reports:
  • Edward Fuller is one of several people who contacted Local 10 News after an investigation aired about the business practices of Miami Gardens pastor Eric Readon.

    He claims the pastor has taken him for over $500,000 and tricked him into signing over his dream house.

    Victims claim they loaned Readon money, handed over cash to rent homes and gave him a deposit to buy his car. All claimed they were not repaid.

    Fuller said he took his case to Miami-Dade police but was told that, because he willfully signed papers and was not forced to, it was a civil matter.(1)

    He has yet to find an attorney to take his case.

    Fuller, 70, has plans, the permits and the pictures from the home. "I can walk through this house blindfolded and tell you exactly where everything is," he said.

    Fuller doesn't have his dream house and claims he was blindsided by Readon. "He sold my house," Fuller said. "He sold the house Feb.13. He sold that house for $380,000."

    How much did Fuller get from that? "I got not one red cent," he said.

    The home is located in the 10900 block of Northwest 19th Avenue.

    Fuller bought the property more than 30 years ago and had a plan. After a 35-year career with the U.S. Postal Service, his retirement project was to build a dream house for his family. "This was like my gift to my daughters once I was gone," Fuller said. "It's just that simple."

    After retirement, the walls and the roof went up.

    Fuller admits he ran out of money to finish. Then, he claims, one day Readon appeared. The pair had never met before.

    "Somehow, he got the information that I was having a problem getting it completed," Fuller said.

    Fuller claims Readon took him to a hard money lender for a loan.

    Project Youth Outreach Unlimited, a nonprofit corporation, was made the contractor on the $125,000 construction loan.

    Readon is the president of that nonprofit.

    But there was a catch. To get the loan, Fuller had to sign 50 percent of his property over to Readon. Since conventional lenders had turned him down, Fuller agreed and work on the house began again.

    Fuller let Readon have full control over the $125,000 loan. When the money ran out, the house was still not finished.

    Fuller claims in order to get more funds using his good credit, the pastor persuaded him to sign over the other 50 percent of the house, so Fuller's credit would be free and clear.

    That meant Project Youth Outreach Unlimited and Readon now owned the entire house.

    "'I promise you, man, you're going to get your house back,' This is what he told me," Fuller said. '"You're going to get your house back.'" But it never happened.

    Fuller only learned Readon sold the house for $380,000 when he did a property records search.

    "I said, 'Eric, you sold my house,'" Fuller said. "He said, 'I got my own personal money tied up in this house,' and he said, 'I can't lose my money.'"

    Readon canceled plans to speak to Local 10 News.

    As Local 10 reported last month, others have said they gave Readon cash deposits to rent homes and buy cars and loaned him cash. Some did get money back, but only after Local 10 began to ask questions.
For more, see Man, 70, accuses Miami Gardens pastor of taking his dream home (Edward Fuller searched for attorney to fight pastor Eric Readon in court).
(1) The fact that this 70-year old man willingly signed over the home and was not forced to doesn't automatically make this a civil matter. A basis for a theft or larceny (ie. theft by deception or false pretenses) from an elderly person, obtaining property by deception or false pretenses (or similar crime) may exist if an investigation would reveal that false or deceptive promises were made to dupe the elderly homeowner into signing over the home, or that the elderly homeowner was otherwise taken advantage of. See, for example, Ex-Lowell building inspector guilty of bilking dying woman of her home.
If the police summarily dismissed this case as a civil matter without first conducting an investigation, chances are that the police (and/or the local prosecutor's office) either:
  • don't have the resources needed to handle this case, or
  • lack the expertise necessary to be alert to the possibility of a theft crime occurring in the context of a business contract, or
  • are just clueless and are using it as an excuse to get rid of the person making the complaint.

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