Gaetano Antonell, 62, Brooksville, Florida, has been arrested and charged with organized fraud for his role in a foreclosure rescue scam. The defendant persuaded homeowners to deed their properties to him then he would list the properties on Craigslist for sale.
On at least three separate occasions between March 23, 2012 and May 14, 2012, residents in both Hernando and Citrus counties, Florida, fell victim to someone they were supposed to be able to trust. Antonelli identified himself to one set of his victims as someone who could rescue them from foreclosure and to the other set of his victims as a home seller, by advertising properties for sale on Craigslist.
With the financial pressure on and foreclosure proceedings looming over-head, Antonelli deceived his victims in many ways. Antonelli‘s scheme involved deceiving his victims into signing the deed to their property over to him via a Power of Attorney so he could rescue them from their mortgage. Once Antonelli fraudulently obtained the deed to the property, he would run an ad on Craigslist, attempting to sell the property that did not belong to him despite the fact that the property is not legally his due to the active foreclosure/Lis Pendens being filed. His victims soon became suspicious and reported the activity to authorities.
On June, 7, 2012, Antonelli was interviewed by detectives. He advised that “mortgages are not legally binding contracts and that mortgages are a “scam” backed by the Federal Government”.
On June 27, 2012, Antonelli was arrested at his residence and charged with Organized Fraud (less than $20,000).
Detectives believe that there may be other victims that have yet to be identified. If you believe you or someone you know may be a victim of this fraudulent activity, please contact the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office at 352-754-6830.