Palm Beach County homeowners filed a lawsuit last week against Boca Raton-based Fidelity Land Trust, the Palm Beach Post reported. The suit claims that Fidelity duped them into signing up for a program that they thought would help reduce their mortgage balance but instead ended up costing them their million-dollar home.
Kenneth and Joycelin Morgan, who appear to live at 6805 Long Leaf Drive, in Parkland, also say they paid thousands in fees under the shoddy program.
The suit is a bid by the Morgans to join an attorney general’s complaint filed in Broward County in September. Since Fidelity Land Trust opened in December 2011, around 100 Palm Beach County homeowners have signed deeds over to the company, the Post said. Real estate attorneys told the Post they expect more Fidelity customers to try to join the AG’s suit.
The attorney general’s complaint asserts that land trusts charged an advance fee, wrongfully guaranteed they could cancel the homeowner’s mortgage and wrongly told homeowners they could void their mortgage through a quiet title action.
Judges in federal and circuit court have already condemned Fidelity’s actions.
“I think, beyond a doubt, that these actions were false, and they were frivolous, and you’re trying to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners in Florida,” said Palm Beach County Judge Meenu Sasser said in a January hearing, per the Post.
A spokesperson for Fidelity said it was working to refund fees for homeowners who felt they had been wrongly-charged, but could not do so because its assets were frozen after the AG’s complaint was filed. [Palm Beach Post] –Evan Bleier