Scores of homeowners unsure how to get back title from trusts

WEST PALM BEACH — For some, it was the last hope to keep their homes and so they listened to the pitch rather than their gut.

They paid thousands of dollars, deeded their homes to a land trust company, and waited for the payout — a canceled mortgage, lower monthly payments, regained equity in their homes.

Foreclosure defense attorneys doubted the soundness of the trusts’ legal maneuvering. Trust managers assured they’d never lost a case. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi called it a “scam.”

She shut down 12 South Florida land trusts and related companies on Tuesday, freezing the assets of the firms and their owners and leaving scores of homeowners unsure of their next step or how to get their deeds back. Although owners may no longer have title, they still owe the note, or debt, to the bank.

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