Santa Barbara Ranch In Real Estate Scam
LABELLE, FL. -- Circuit Judge Bruce Kyle has signed an order outlining a real estate scam perpetrated by Elizabeth Hurtado and Hector Hurtado, operating as Santa Barbara Ranch Corporation in Hendry county, against two men from New York.
According to a final judgment against the Hurtado couple filed in the Circuit Court, a scheme was commenced six years ago to obtain money from Lennard Bactawar and Clement Bactawar by the Hurtado couple. The Hurtados represented they would sell a 68 acre parcel of real estate known as the Santa Barbara Ranch to the Bactawars for $140,000.
The Santa Barbara Ranch on State Road 80 had been in the news before, as the site of a grisly murder in the 1990s, and the location of rumored drug dealing before that.
On August 13, 2001, the Bactawars gave $140,000 to Hector Hurtado to purchase the ranch with a closing on the property to be the next day in Clewiston at Hurtado's "attorney's office." However, when the the buyers traveled to the Clewiston office on August 14, the Bactawars found there was no such address.
But Hurtado, with the assistance of Elisabeth Hurtado deposited the money into an account at First Bank on August 14 in Clewiston. The bank then issued cashiers a check for $38,000 payable to Benjamin Zaidenstat and $100,000 payable to Juan A. Sanchez Trust Account, both of which were cached and the bank paid the money out.
But when finding there was no attorney's office and no closing was likely to be held, the Bactawars went to Citibank Federal Savings the same day and stopped payment on the checks they had given to Hurtado, and Citibank then impounded the funds of the Bactawars, in case the check had been cashed already, which as it turns out had.
First Bank, now out $138,000, filed a suit against the Hurtados and Citibank to recover the fraudulently obtained money, while the Bactawars filed as intervenors in the suit since they were out $140,000. The Hurtados filed a countersuit against all the parties.
After six years of in court and out or court arguments among the parties, the Hurtados failed to show up for trial, and failed to comply with court orders of pretrial requirements and discovery requests by the bank attorneys.
The court gave a judgment in favor of First Bank for the $138,000 they lost in the scam plus costs and interest for a total of $209,413 which interest until paid of 11%. The Backtawars received a judgment in their favor for a total of $127,927 and 11% interest until paid.
No one has been paid, while the Hurtado's last known address was 24155 SW 167th Ave, Miami.