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Florida Swampland For Sale

A Florida man has been convicted of charges related to a scam in which he sold swampland to several Miami residents for vastly inflated amounts.

Dudley Cohn was convicted of one count of organized scheme to defraud, a first-degree felony, by a Miami-Dade jury after a two-week trial. In the late 1980s, Dudley Cohn sold vacant land to 13 individuals in an area known as the East Everglades. Cohn charged the victims $15,000 for the 1.25-acre lots that were later appraised by the federal government as being worth about one-tenth of that amount.

Victims testified they were mislead by claims the land was suitable for building and that roads would be built to their property. Cohn did not disclose that the County had determined that no roads would be built and the land was unsuitable for development

Sentencing for Cohn is set for April 10. He faces up to 30 years in prison and must make full restitution to his victims.

Via: Inman

Gus Moore heads up Miami Beach 411 as site administrator. You can reach him at 1-305-754-2206.

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4 Responses to "Florida Swampland For Sale"

    Florence Gata says:

    Accused Con-Artists Face Trial in Hampton Subdivision Scam!

    Bradford County N. Florida – An old scam with a new twist is back, when you can purchase almost 2 acres of land to build your dream home in a brand new subdivision, but you can’t build anything!  Developers Stephen F. Smith, Edith Ellen Smith, and Realtor/Developer Wayne E. Douglas Sr. from Douglas Realty in Starke are facing fraud charges, and numerous state & federal disclosure violations from the sale of a lot in their Edith Ellen Estates subdivision on Hampton Lake.  The lot they sold is almost 99% restricted property and is in violation of Interstate Land Sales laws and other state statutes!  Unlike the olden days of selling swampland that could be developed in some cases, selling restricted government land that is not disclosed to the buyer is illegal.  What is it?  It’s called a Government Restricted State Jurisdictional Wetland, and it is “land that is protected by the government for the bugs, bushes, and animals”, you cannot step foot on it!  Buyers have no more rights to their property any other person driving down the street looking out their car window would have. 

    The buyers from California researched the land with the local courthouse, property appraiser, building officials, zoning directors, and everyone said it was “good property”, a “good deal”’ and “they would buy it themselves”, etc. which obviously is not true.  After moving cross-country and wasting over one hundred thousand dollars, victims are told “That’s Life” and “You Shouldn’t Listen To What People Tell You or What You Hear Them Say”?  These are from people who drive around town with signs on their vehicle telling everyone to read the Bible? 

    Attorneys for the plaintiffs say the lot in question is not large enough to sustain a required septic system, or any known-recorded architect’s design for a house that has ever been published or built in the area.  The restrictions were not disclosed as required by State & Federal law, and the maximum dimensions squared along the street that can be developed are 40’ft. x 40’ft. as per survey, which is less than 2% of the total lot size (2.2 football fields end to end along the street).  The buyers were emphatically told the entire lot could be cleared without restrictions.  The lot is a permitted subdivision Drainage Easement/Jurisdictional Wetland, but NOT a home-site, and was specifically required NOT to be conveyed/deeded outside of the homeowners association according to the subdivision permit and homeowner’s association contract.  The state agency issuing the permit has not been enforcing permits previously issued, which has caused numerous similar situations throughout North Florida.  However, recent talks have already begun and enforcement of previously issued permits should begin later this year according to the SRWMD who issued this subdivision’s permit. 

    Any conceivable defense the defendants could attempt would involve much twisting and contortion of the law, which has never been successfully done before since most people who promote these underhanded frauds eventually end up in jail say legal experts.  This is probably one of the most blatant schemes out there right now to rip somebody off of their hard-earned money.  Enforcement of the law is an extremely slow process, which explains why most people just quietly put up a “For Sale” sign on their land instead of complaining.  The buyers have said that there is absolutely no way they will leave town without their money and are ready to fight.  They are even prepared to take this matter to the Supreme Court if necessary.  “This is just not right how people can steal from one another and the law expects the victims to spend thousands of dollars on attorney fees and handle everything on their own just because of budget shortfalls, etc.”  “Then the perpetrators hide behind their church, that’s sacrilegious!”  “ The law must be enforced and the government regulatory agencies better get their act together soon”.  “They stole our home,” says Florence Gata, who is one of the buyers in the lot scam, and is legal guardian of her 82 yr.-old paralyzed mother who lives with her and her husband and now have no home in Florida.  “What kind of greedy people do this to one another”?  “Now my mother will never realize her dreams, those people should be ashamed of themselves and in jail!” 

    The honorable judge appears to be connected with a church, the defendants are fellow members, and are wealthy well-known individuals with family resources.  This may explain previous rulings that have allowed a counter suit against the plaintiffs for slander, defamation of character, and libel against the plaintiffs who are exposing the wrongdoing?  This defense was allowed without reference to the law?  Under the guise of a home-site, a restricted jurisdictional wetland that cannot be developed was sold.  You cannot even make a campsite!  However this point has not been addressed thus far, or zero need for a trial would be necessary should current law be referred to.  The plaintiffs did try to amicably work things out with the sellers who were promised another lot or their money back.  But the defendants never intended to remedy the situation at all, and the promises were just another lie.  This fiasco has been ongoing for over 2 years now, and the trial is set for Sept. 2, 2008.

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    Posted on 03/30 at 8:38 PM
    Jimmy B fan says:

    Is this a complete joke or what? How can these guys get away with doing this?Sounds to me like Good ‘ol boy nepotism at it’s finest. These clowns(Smith etc) belong in jail with that other rip off artist Dudley Cohn.It would be laughable if it wasn’t such blatant fraud by everyone involved.


    Posted on 05/25 at 5:31 PM
Jim G says:

As long as there are imbeciles ready to buy land sight unseen this will happen.


Posted on 08/28 at 8:16 AM
Cabins for Sale says:

I wonder at what point it becomes illegal. We had a person here locally sell land by the river, and did not notify the buyer that the land would flood every year. Thirty years seems excessive.


Posted on 03/01 at 4:27 PM

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