Local city officials are warning residents in Cape Coral of mailers being sent out with an offer to buy their vacant lots for $500 at no closing costs. The lot owners were being pressured into selling their lots by the 15th of October to avoid any additional costs.
Residents may have received mail stating that the local government has an ongoing sewer and water assessment and landowners have to pay a sum of $20,000 to avoid their property from being evicted. These letters should act as a warning for property owners to ignore and toss out the letters they receive.
Most of the residents who receive this mailer are in the Northern section of Cape Coral along Pine Island Road.
In a press release held last week by local officials, they have disaffirmed the information that was printed on the letter.
The city’s utilities projects would cover the areas of Southwest 6 and 7. The assessment for the properties in these areas would not start until next fall. North 1 and 2 are also scheduled for these utilities projects but these plans would still need the approval of the city council. If these projects do go as planned, assessments would not start until 2016 to 2018.
There has no bids placed yet for the utilities assessment in these areas but the figure of $20,000 was based on an estimate done back in 2008 for labor costs. It is likely that these estimates have change and the labor costs have dropped further.
The payment for this assessment is not upfront as city provides a 20 year payment plan for the property owner.
These mailings were sent out to create confusion and scare land owners in selling their property below their properties true value. The individuals behind this scam are taking advantage of unsuspecting lot owners.
The company behind the letters comes in different business names, from ROBB-MORR Real Estate, M.T. Lotz and IMA Landbank LTCG. Upon further investigation, all alleged companies list a certain James Morrissette as the registered agent. He cannot be reached for comment regarding these mailings that were sent out.
The city council members advised all lot owners to do their homework and avoid being a victim of this scam. They should have the information that they need before they agree to any contracts. The residents can also get in touch with the city’s Citizen Action Center to get information regarding the city’s utilities expansion project.