When Guilfort Dieuvil was arrested in May 2012, authorities said he had taken advantage of numerous South Florida homeowners during the region’s foreclosure crisis.
The business executive was accused of luring victims through Haitian and Spanish radio station ads promising mortgage relief through his Nationwide Investment Firm Corp., operating from Boynton Beach, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach.
But now Dieuvil, 40, can avoid prosecution altogether. The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office Friday dropped 15 charges of obtaining property by fraud and one count of unlawful taking of advance fees. And two remaining felony charges can be dismissed in as little as 18 months, according to an agreement reached last week.
The resulting dismissal of the charges really treats this as it should have been treated from the start,” said defense attorney Alvin Entin, framing the entire matter as a civil dispute. “There was no crime committed.”
Circuit Judge Stephen Rapp approved the terms, arranged by Assistant State Attorney Jean Francis, Entin and co-defense attorney Gregory Morse.
Dieuvil will not be prosecuted on two counts of organized scheme to defraud greater than $50,000 if he stays out of trouble while the “pre-trial intervention” agreement is in place up to three years. He would avoid both having convictions on his record and the prospect of prison time.
The remaining charges concern allegations involving Dieuvil’s dealings with Haitian Bethel Baptist Church of Boynton Beach, and a separate property, Entin said. He added Dieuvil has agreed to some restitution payments.
The resolution of this case shows the alleged fraud wasn’t substantiated, Entin said.
Authorities had said Dieuvil’s company offered to purchase homes at risk of foreclosure and negotiate with banks and lenders to pay off mortgage debts. Once Dieuvil acquired the properties, he never paid off the delinquent mortgages, police said.
To facilitate the fraud, Dieuvil advertised on a Haitian radio station, Radio Haiti Amerique Internationale, 980-AM, WHSR, and a Spanish radio station, the Glades Media Group, 1380-AM, WWRF, to promote information that was materially false,” an arrest report states.
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Police said Dieuvil lured clients with a pitch to “purchase your house if you are willing to sell it, deal with your lender directly, pay all costs including foreclosure defense, sell or lease you another one.”
People enticed by this offer transferred their homes to Nationwide through quit-claim deeds or warranty deeds, police said.
Investigators from Boca Raton police, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation and Boynton Beach police, said they discovered between May 2009 and July 2011, Nationwide acquired 104 properties valued at $9.5 million. The investigation focused on 15 cases.
They concluded Dieuvil acquired 17 properties valued at $2.5 million from those 15 homeowners, and never paid off the delinquent mortgages. Lenders continued foreclosure proceedings against the alleged victims in Palm Beach and Broward counties, while Dieuvil forced them to pay rent, police said.
On Tuesday, Entin said the outcome in court “was the fairest, most appropriate way to deal with these cases.”
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