The Fidelity Land Trust Company, LLC (unrelated to Fidelity National Title Insurance Company) that obtained certain titles to homeowners’ residences may be clouded and deemed null and void based on a ruling from a Broward County, Florida, Circuit Court.
A Final Judgment has been issued against Fidelity Land Trust in the case of Office of the Attorney General v. Edward Cherry, et al, Case No. 12-269807(12)(17th Jud. Cir.), a case which involves a scheme that resulted in the execution and/or recording of a large number of quitclaim deeds or warranty deeds that have since been declared null and void.
The ruling of Office of the Attorney General v. Edward Cherry, et al may affect real property deeds recorded in many of the Clerk’s Offices in Florida, and therefore a copy of the Final Judgment has been recorded in each of Florida’s 67 County Clerk’s Offices.
Cherry and others were principals in Fidelity Land Trust. Fidelity Land Trust solicited Florida homeowners to enter a program it offered that would allegedly allow the homeowners to cancel their current mortgage in return for the payment of thousands of dollars in upfront fees. Once in Fidelity Land Trust’s program, the homeowner was required to deed his or her home to Fidelity Land Trust, which would then file a quiet title lawsuit that claimed that the existing mortgage was not valid. Many of these quiet title actions have since been held to be frivolous and without merit in numerous state and federal court decisions, and homeowners who deeded their properties to Fidelity Land Trust are finding that they have a cloud on the title.
On December 17, 2013, Broward Circuit Judge Michael Gates ruled that: 1) Fidelity Land Trust’s acts and practices are unfair and/or deceptive in violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and 2) all quitclaim deeds or warranty deeds executed and/or recorded subsequent to January 1, 2010 in the State of Florida transferring title to The Fidelity Land Trust Company, LLC as grantee in fee simple or as trustee or in other fiduciary capacity, are rescinded and deemed null and void ab initio (from the beginning). The Court entered a permanent injunction against Fidelity Land Trust enjoining any further attempts by Fidelity Land Trust to cancel previously recorded mortgages. The effect of this Final Judgment on title to real estate deeded to Fidelity Land Trust is significant.
The Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division announced the alert.
Assistant Attorney General Fulvio Joseph Gentili reported on the cases.