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Friday, May 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Plenty of Ways to Make Money in Housing

TAMPA (CN) - A couple claim that a man operating as Help is Here Foreclosure Prevention & Credit Repair rented their own home to them for a year at $1,300 a month, and scooted with the money after failing to do anything with it except stuff it into his pockets. They sued Demetrius Lewis - whom they met at church - and his dissolved company in Pinellas County Court.

According to the complaint, Lewis told the plaintiffs he could negotiate a short sale with their lender on the $242,000 mortgage on their St. Petersburg home.

Less than 2 weeks after accepting his "help," the couple says, Lewis told them the lender had accepted a short sale for $69,000, executed an Agreement and Statement of Understanding and placed his name on a Warranty Deed to Trustee.

A week after that, the couple says, Lewis said he would buy the property, and showed them a cashier's check that he said he would mail to the lender. Then Help is Here rented them their own house for $1,300 a month.

A year later, the couple says, they received a Certificate of Sale by mail, indicating that the home had been sold back to the lender in foreclosure. They were $18,000 in arrears when the foreclosure was filed.

They say Lewis never completed the short sale, never sent money to the lender, but took rent from them for a year on their own property.

They seek rescission and damages for fraud, deceptive trade and unjust enrichment.

Help is Here was administratively dissolved on Sept. 24, 2010, according to the complaint; Lewis was its managing member.

The plaintiffs are represented by Samuel Heller or Tampa.

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