Lawsuit filed against alleged Florida equity skimming scheme

McCollum

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - A lawsuit has been filed against a Miami-Dade County business alleged to have victimized at least 20 South Florida homeowners through an equity skimming scheme.

Xolutex, Inc., and principals Ceasar F. Tavaras and George Ibanez are alleged to have caused equity losses through their scheme in excess of $1.9 million.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum's Economic Crimes Division began investigating Xolutex's business practices in December 2007 following multiple consumer complaints.

The lawsuit against Xolutex alleges that homeowners in various stages of foreclosure proceedings were sought by Xolutex.

The company then met with the homeowners under the guise of offering foreclosure rescue and credit counseling. The homeowners were then lured into the company's scheme that saw straw buyers purchasing homes at inflated prices to maximize the amount of money to be skimmed from the homeowners.

Loan applications were allegedly falsified by Xolutex and its principals to facilitate the straw buyers' ability to qualify for the home loans.

Virtually all of the equity in the homes was also paid to Xolutex through documents Tavaras and Ibanez allegedly convinced the homeowners to sign.

The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief against Xolutex, its principals and its straw buyers and to prohibit them from ever participating in any real estate, mortgage or credit counseling business again.

Full restitution is also being sought by McCollum on behalf of all victimized consumers as well as civil penalties of $10,000 for each violation of the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

McCollum is also seeking reimbursement for fees and costs related to the investigation.

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