Word is out on the street that a Boca Raton business claiming to be “an industry leader in foreclosure and pre-foreclosure litigation in South Florida” is under criminal investigation by Florida authorities (specifically, the State Economic Crimes Unit) for unauthorized practice of law among other allegations.
The group, posturing itself as an “asset protection group” recently posted what appears to be a promotional report entitled, “Florida Asset Protection Group Defends Distressed Homeowners Against Quiet Title Action”, dated November 23, 2015. The post, in part, claims that this firm is here to keep Florida homeowners from being ripped off by unscrupulous scam operators across the State in quiet title actions:
“There are always people and companies looking to take advantage of others, and when this occurs the best choice is to contact Florida Asset Protection Group. The team at FAPG firmly believes that businesses have an obligation to help support and educate the communities and protect them against predatory scams such as these, can be avoided. For more information about Florida Asset Protection Group visit www.floridaassetprotectiongroup.com.”
It also appears that one Tampa attorney (who I spoke with by phone) has filed a police report alleging identity theft by the Florida Asset Protection Group. Jennifer Layne Heath claims she interviewed with a firm claiming to be known as the Liberty Law Group PA, which has the same address as Florida Asset Protection Group, only to find out months later that her name was listed on incorporation papers (filed with the Florida Department of State on March 2, 2015) as Vice President of the firm, which stated that the purpose of incorporation is “Legal Practice Legal Services”. See the Articles of Incorporation here: Articles of Incorporation_Liberty Law Group PA
You’ll notice the name “Jennifer Heath” is listed at the bottom of this filing. The “real” Jennifer Layne Heath, Florida Bar No. 103906, a member in good standing, said upon further investigation she discovered that Liberty Law Group PA was not a law practice and that none of the individuals she interviewed with were Florida-licensed attorneys and immediately filed a complaint with the Florida Bar. When she discovered her name on the foregoing filing, she filed an identity theft report with the local police department and contacted state authorities.
Further research into the Florida Department of State’s online database revealed that Florida Asset Protection Group appears to be a fictitious name filed by Liberty Law Group PA, which you can view here: Fictitious Name Registration for FAPG.
Upon a review of the Liberty Law Group’s Articles of Incorporation, the filing showed the registered agent for this entity as Business Administration Growth LLC, also with the same address as Liberty Law Group and FAPG. The incorporator (under Article VI of the PA is shown as Victor Spagnuolo, showing the same Boca Raton address, incorporated on March 1, 2015. Spagnuolo’s name is also shown as the “registered agent” for Liberty Law Group’s registered agent, Business Administration Growth LLC, showing as address of 1615 South Congress Avenue, Suite 103, in Delray Beach, Florida. You can view the registered agent’s Articles of Incorporation here: Business Adminstration Growth LLC Corp Reg.
Victor Spagnuolo is NOT a Florida-licensed attorney.
Once you see what I term “a love triangle”, you can vet out further additions to the staff through all of the filed Amendments with the Florida Department of State.
The bottom line is: There is an on-going criminal investigation into the Liberty Law Group PA, which Heath says isn’t a law group at all.
Again, the “kettle” is still black, no matter what the “pot” calls it.
The press release posted on FAPG’s website explains what quiet title actions are, but in the alternative, appears to cast negative light on them, as if there are scam operators out there that are fooling people into believing that quiet title actions are a “cure-all” for everything real estate.
There are also “operators” out there posing as “investigators of the truth”, yet don’t do their homework before they make their reports public, taking other people’s words and making them their own in an attempt to smear others’ good work. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Quiet title actions are a continuous, ongoing legal process in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Territories. Whether a firm claiming it is there to educate people has good intentions or not, registering such a firm in the name of what appears to be a bona fide law group when there isn’t attorney among them certainly smacks of less than honorable positioning for individuals claiming to be “experts in their fields” in helping homeowners in distress.
Florida is a lien theory state. On too many occasions, the research shows that attorneys commingle promissory notes with title issues. According to attorney Al West, enforcing payment on a promissory note is an in personam action (meaning an action on the person who signed the note for breach of contract, or non-payment which the holder of the note claims is in default), while a quiet title action is an in rem action (an action involving the thing, or the subject property in question).
Despite what the naysayers across the country think about homeowners’ filings of quiet title actions, one source in Chicago Title claims there are over 20,000 quiet title actions ongoing across America at any given moment. The Holm case in Missouri (against Wells Fargo’s mortgage services unit) was a prime example of an equitable remedy, which also resulted in over $2.9-million in punitive damages being awarded to the Holm’s for the deceitful practices conducted by Wells Fargo and its henchmen (see the judgment here): Holm v WF_Judgment.1-26-15. The judge in that case, quieted titled in favor of the Holms. In this instance, virtually every Florida homeowner with an educated attorney could see themselves achieving similar results if they found themselves in similar circumstances.
The Wolf case in Houston, which this blog post recently reported on, also found Wells Fargo and Carrington Mortgage Services liable and the jury awarded the Wolfs over $5,000,000 in damages. The jury also found document fabrication in that case (so tell me something I’ve already been asserting for years) by Wells Fargo employees. This should come as no surprise considering New York attorney Linda Tirelli’s locating a 150-page manual for Wells Fargo attorneys, which in part, tells bank lawyers if they need a document “created out of thin air”, just let Wells Fargo’s Default Assignment Team know and they’ll “make one up” … this sounds almost like a commercial, doesn’t it? It keeps repeating itself over and over.
If you’ll look in your mortgage or deed of trust, you’ll see language where the Borrower is obligated to defend his title (to his property) generally, subject to encumbrances of record. That means one would have to facilitate a legal action to defend their title, right? There are statutes created by every state legislature for this purpose. It is your contractual right to quiet title. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. HOW and WHEN you plead the action is important, despite the fact that you have a contractual right to do so.
FAPG … another “wolf in sheep’s clothing”? Perhaps. You be the judge! Buyer beware!