Tampa firm probed by Attorney General Pam Bondi accused of fake bidding in foreclosure auctions
Two years ago, the homeowners association of Pasco County's Quail Ridge Villas got a final foreclosure judgment against a resident who owed $8,217 in delinquent fees.
At the online public auction, someone bid on the property but failed to pay. Another auction was scheduled, and again the high bidder defaulted. That happened three more times, for a total of five invalid sales in eight months.
The repeated delays hurt the association, which was unable to collect thousands of dollars in fees needed for maintenance and repairs. But they were a boon to HOA Problem Solutions, a Tampa company that had been renting out the house for the whole time that foreclosure proceedings dragged on.
Now, the company is accused of causing the delays itself.
HOA Problem Solutions "is intentionally impeding the judicial process by submitting false bids'' in order to scuttle foreclosure sales and keep collecting rent on the house, Monique Parker, an attorney for Quail Ridge Villas, alleged in a lawsuit filed in Pasco circuit court.
Many other associations have had similar experiences with the firm, Clearwater attorney Brandon Mullis said. He accuses HOA Problem Solutions of an "ongoing scam'' that hurts not only the associations but also the homeowners, renters and honest bidders in foreclosure auctions.
"If what they're doing isn't illegal, it should be,'' he said.
As the Tampa Bay Times recently reported, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's office has launched a consumer protection investigation into HOA Problem Solutions.