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Florida arrests man for $2.5 million real estate scheme

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – March 16, 2015 – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) arrested Louis Marvin Lewis, 47, on charges of organized scheme to defraud, 10 counts of grand theft, five counts of criminal use of personal identification, and 10 counts of criminal actions last Thursday.

According to FDLE, Lewis fraudulently obtained abandoned houses in Orange, St. Lucie, Martin and Broward counties in an attempt to sell the properties to unsuspecting victims.

The 18-month investigation found that Lewis acquired 10 properties by filing fraudulent paperwork through clerk of court offices. The paperwork contained forgeries and false documents transferring ownership of the property from the lawful owner to a fictitious corporation created by Lewis. In total, property values are worth $2.5 million. The investigation began when the St. Lucie County Property Appraiser’s Office noticed suspicious details on deeds when Lewis attempted to change ownership and initiated its own internal investigation.

To distance himself from the fraud, FDLE alleges that Lewis claimed to be the trustee of various fraudulent corporations and frequently changed the corporation names to avoid detection. He sold four properties and fraudulently transferred ownership on six properties while working to find buyers.

Lewis fraudulently sold two victims’ house without their knowledge while the bank was processing a foreclosure.

It’s not Lewis’ first real estate offense. He was convicted in July 2014 in Broward County for filing false documents with the Broward Clerk of Court in order to transfer deeds of other fraudulent houses and sentenced to five years in prison. Lewis is currently in Dade Correctional Institution in Florida City with a release date of April 2019. He will be brought to St. Lucie County to face the new charges.

This case will be prosecuted by Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.

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