BROOKSVILLE — Carrying backpacks and plastic cases, Secret Service agents on Tuesday morning walked in and out of the nondescript cream-colored warehouse tucked behind the Dollar General Store off Spring Hill Drive. A white truck the size of an RV was backed up to a door leading inside. A Hernando County sheriff's deputy's cruiser idled nearby.
The building, records show, belongs to American Mortgage Field Services. According to its website, the Hernando-based company provides residential and commercial property inspections as well as "preservation services," including general home repairs and maintenance.
The business is under federal investigation, and the agents were serving search warrants, according to John Joyce, special agent in charge of the Secret Service's Tampa office. Joyce declined to give details regarding the nature of the investigation, adding that no one had been arrested. The raids were a joint operation with the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
The company's president, Dean Counce, said he thought the investigation stemmed from allegations that a disgruntled former employee had made after he quit and didn't get his unemployment benefits.
"He's making allegations that are not true," Counce said.
When asked why multiple federal agencies would execute search warrants based on that type of complaint, Counce didn't provide a clear answer.
He said he had been questioned by federal agents, but declined to say what they asked him.
American Mortgage's website says Counce has 25 has years of experience in the industry and "has experience in every type of default loan servicing. He has built a solid multi-state business by taking a hands-on-management approach and developing efficient innovative industry solutions for a sustainable future."
Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. John Woodrow Cox can be reached at (352) 848-1432 or email@example.com.