Attorney General Pam Bondi News Release
October 18, 2018
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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Attorney General Bondi Shuts Down Theft Scheme

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.––Attorney General Pam Bondi today obtained a temporary injunction and asset freeze in conjunction with a complaint filed in Broward County to shutter a million-dollar scheme. The court-ordered injunction shuts down an alleged scheme run by two individuals identified in the complaint as Lawrence Forno, a Florida-licensed attorney, and Richard B. Meyer, both of South Florida. By filing sham lawsuits in the name of, or in connection with, businesses that falsely appear to be widely known financial institutions, the defendants have allegedly swindled at least $1.5 million in proceeds from judicial property sales across Florida.

According to the complaint, Meyer created various businesses with names substantially similar to more well-known financial institutions. For example, sham companies were referred to as Citi Financial and another as Mellon Mortgage Services Corp. Defendants brought court actions on behalf of these deceptively named businesses to claim funds generated from forced judicial sales of real property.

In support of these lawsuits, the defendants allegedly filed fabricated assignments of mortgage, falsified affidavits, powers of attorney, and other fake documents to make it appear that one of Meyer’s entities was either the actual holder or assignee of the mortgage or lien or was the authorized agent of the legitimate financial institution or entity that held the mortgage or interest. The complaint alleges that defendants used this scam to illegally obtain judgments that range from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars in cases filed in numerous courts across the state.

The complaint includes multiple counts of civil theft against Forno and Meyer. The following entities are identified as businesses used in the defendants’ theft scheme: Citi Financial Services Incorporated International also known as, Citi Financial; Default Investor Corp.; Default Strategies, LLC; Florida Real Estate Investment Center, Inc.; Mellon Mortgage Services Corp.; WCI Financial Corporation; and Rockland Trust CC Partners, Inc. None of these businesses is believed to be affiliated with any well-known entity or financial institution by a similar name.

To view the Attorney General’s complaint, click here. To view the motion, click here. To view the court’s order, click here.

The Circuit Court of the 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward County will hear this case.