As H. D. and Mary McCrum signed a slew of papers for Wysocki Corp. to build a home on their Spring Hill property, company officials slipped in an extra document, the McCrums say.
The document was a property deed that transferred the McCrums' $30,000 plot of land to notorious home builder William Wysocki, according to a civil lawsuit filed Tuesday in Hernando County Circuit Court.
H. D. McCrum, who scribbled his name on the deed, had no idea what he had signed, according to the complaint.
"They had their property fraudulently taken," said Daniel B. Merritt Jr., the Brooksville attorney representing the McCrums, who live near Oxford, England. "These folks were foreigners _ and very naive _ and they got taken."
Tuesday's lawsuit adds a new twist to the saga of William and Ann Wysocki, both of whom were arrested in January on charges including grand theft and racketeering. Prosecutors said the Wysockis misused about $1.5-million while operating Port Richey-based Wysocki Corp., which built homes around the Tampa Bay area.
Some 90 homeowners in five counties were left with unfinished homes when the company closed its doors without warning on May 13, 1994. Prosecutors spent months investigating a tangled web of transfers and transactions before arresting the couple.
In early 1994, when unpaid subcontractors obtained liens on the company's projects, prosecutors said the Wysockis went shopping in Hawaii, where they stayed in one of Maui's most expensive hotels. Authorities said that was one of many lavish trips and personal expenses billed to the company.
Now the Wysockis are in jail in Pasco County, where they are being held without bail. Their trial is scheduled for later this summer.
The McCrums contracted with Wysocki Corp. in 1991 after previewing the company's model homes. On May 31 of that year, the lawsuit said, the McCrums were tricked into signing a deed after William Wysocki or a company official mixed the document with other home construction papers signed by the McCrums.
According to the lawsuit: "The plaintiffs were unaware of the nature and significance of the documents they were signing, including the "Deed of Convenience,' and they relied exclusively on the defendant or his agent in signing such documents."
The lawsuit, which names only William Wysocki as a defendant, further alleges that the developer obtained a mortgage on the McCrums' property and put the mortgage proceeds to his own use and benefit.
In filing the suit, the McCrums seek the return of their property in the Lake in the Woods subdivision, west of U.S. 19.
Neither the McCrums nor an attorney for Wysocki could be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
_ Information from Times files was used in this report.