Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Real Estate Operator/Attorney Under Suspicion Of Running Racket That Dupes Winning Bidders At Foreclosure Sale Auctions Into Thinking That They're Bidding On Free & Clear Properties, Confusing Even Experienced Investors

In Clearwater, Florida, the Tampa Bay Times reports:
  • For the second time in six weeks, a company connected to lawyer Roy C. Skelton stood poised to profit from a Pinellas County foreclosure auction that confused even experienced real estate investors.

    Like the case of a gulf-front condo that sold for $458,100 in June to an unsuspecting bidder, a Largo townhouse sold for $112,300 last week to a man who thought he was bidding on a first mortgage and would own the home free and clear.

    In both cases, the auctions involved second mortgages and amounts far higher than what a Skelton-connected company had paid for the properties.

    "One of the (many) things that is so dangerous and deceptive about this scheme is that even with a formal title search, a bidder wouldn't be clearly warned about what was occurring here,'' according to a motion filed Tuesday by attorney Matthew Weidner, who represents the winning bidder for the Largo townhouse.

    After realizing he would not own the home outright, the bidder declined to pay the $112,300, which was due Monday. However, he will still forfeit more than $5,500 in deposits unless he can convince a judge there was a problem with the auction.

    Meanwhile, the high bidder on the gulf-front condo is still fighting to get back its $458,100. The Pinellas clerk's office has stopped payment on a check it wrote to Skelton's Deutsche Residential Mortgage Company and — despite Skelton's threatened legal action against the clerk — will not disburse the money without a court order.

    A hearing in that case is set for Aug. 21.

    Skelton, a Clearwater lawyer and real estate investor, denied any intent to deceive or mislead potential bidders.

    "Everything is filed in the public records for all who bother to look will see," he said in an email Tuesday to the Tampa Bay Times. "If a potential bidder is misinformed it is solely due to their failure to do the due diligence that the law requires. There is even a link to the final judgment on the bidding web site for every foreclosure sale. As the Florida Supreme Court has stated, when it comes to judicial sales, the rule is caveat emptor.''

    [...]

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