Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Florida Keys : Scammers Paradise

This story reminds when after Hurricane Wilma blew away the roof and a roofer charged my then 88 year old mother $7,000 as a down payment for materials for the roof, he showed up with a bunch of drunks one day made a bunch of noise and never showed up again . This despite me chasing him down and begging him to fix the roof to get my parents out of the elements.

When I went to the authorities, I was told this was a "Civil Matter" and because of the legal complications I wrote it off.

Here is another example of Justice "Florida Keys Style" a schemers paradise.

  • We have a House that is padlocked for being in what the court deemed to be uninhabitable condition.
  • The schemers advertise the home as Ocean Paradise Villa and collect at least $57,365 from victims.
  • The Victims go to Monroe County Sheriff's Office and State Attorney's Office who declined to pursue criminal fraud charges against Turner and Workman, saying that rental agreements are typicallycivil matters.
  • The scammers continue to advertise the property and scam other innocent un suspecting victims.
You can scam outsiders for thousands, or take little old ladies for all they have!

This are all civil matters! But Don't touch our lobsters!Mess with our cats! or our dogs. Because if you do that law enforcement will be out in force, take your cars, boats and confiscate your house.

The Florida Keys: a Schemers Paradise

Long Key , Florida Keys USA Key West Citizen By Robert Silk

Monroe County has asked a judge to block the leaseholders of a padlocked Long Key home from advertising it as a vacation rental.

Marcia Turner and husband Denny Workman have collected at least $57,365 in rental payments for the home at 65890 Overseas Highway since April 5, 2007, when a judge issued an injunction forbidding occupancy, according to a July 28 motion filed by Monroe County Assistant Attorney Cynthia Hall.

The actual figure is almost certainly higher, since Hall did not include payments made by several individuals who have previously made complaints against Turner and Workman to local law enforcement or shared their stories with The Citizen.

Of the $57,365 Hall has documented, none has been returned to the renters, she wrote. In the meantime, the five renters listed in the motion, hailing from as far away as Ireland, were unable to stay in the padlocked home.

• Turner and Workman have continued to advertise the home, which they call Ocean Paradise Villa, as a luxury rental since it was padlocked for being in what the court deemed to be uninhabitable condition. Listed rental prices have varied, but one site listed the home at $5,000 to $9,000 per week while another gave a monthly rate of $20,000 to $34,000.

The county cannot remove the padlock until a Code Enforcement officer issues permits for repairs to the home. Those permits must be authorized by property owner Garabet Khatchikian. But Khatchikian, who has been engaged in a long-standing court fight with Turner over future ownership of the house, has declined to do so.

In the meantime, both the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and State Attorney's Office have declined to pursue criminal fraud charges against Turner and Workman, saying that rental agreements are typically civil matters.

In a recent interview, Hall said the county waited until now to press forward with its attempt to block Turner from advertising the home because other efforts have failed.

"We have been trying to get Ms. Turner to voluntarily stop advertising rentals and collecting money from people knowing that she cannot rent the property. Unfortunately she wouldn't do that," she said.

Hall also said that until last December, the county was unaware that Turner and Workman had continued to advertise the property after it was padlocked eight months earlier. That response signaled a disconnect within Monroe County offices.

The ongoing marketing efforts ofTurner and Workman, who live in Twin Falls, Idaho, were first detailed in a lengthy article about the so-called Ocean Paradise Villa in The Citizen's Aug. 5, 2007, edition.

The July 28 motion isn't thefirst step Monroe County has taken to block the duo from advertising the home. On April 24, Special Magistrate Larry Sartin sided with the county in a code case brought against Turner for operating a vacation rental without a license. Sartin ordered Turner to pay $40,000 and take down her Web site, www.oceanparadisevilla.
corn. That site since has been removed from the Internet. But as of July 28, advertisements for the home remained on various other vacation rental sites, Hall wrote.

A hearing on the county's injunction request is scheduled for Sept. 24. If the injunction is granted, and Turner continues to advertise the Long Keyhome as a vacation rental, she could be open to both criminal and civil contempt of court charges, Hall said.

Turner did not answer calls to the Idaho phone number she listed as hers in court records.


Anonymous said...

Marcia Turner and Denny Workman also ripped off a couple from Michigan, costing them over $20,000based on the scam rental of Ocean Paradise Villa. You would hope the prosecutor would do something for all these people, making Workman and Turner pay restitution (subject to jail). Rather, everyone has to sue separately.

5fish said...

We rented this property in 2004. The house was available but the the Turner/Workmans made themselves scarce when it came time to return our deposit. Through our research at the time (2004) we learned that many who rented never received the return of their substantial deposits. Looks like they have moved on to bigger and better things since then. I don't understand why advertising and collecting rent for property you don't own, that has been deemed uninhabital by the county, constitutes a civil matter. Even though we complained to numerous government agencies back in 2004, inaction led the dynamic duo to bigger and better things. Why be satisfied with just the security deposit when you can keep rent/deposit/taxes and provide nothing in return. Check out this write up about I found on Marcia from 2000. They should add con artist to her resume.

Anonymous said...

Marcia Turner and Denny Workman's 68 foot Irwin sailboat is docked at my dock slip. I have been trying to reach them and get no return phone calls. They also skipped out on towing fees to the boat towing company. Does anyone know how to reach them? Does anyone need to put a lien on this sailboat?

Anonymous said...

These people who use a man called Steve Huffman as their representative when poor unsuspecting holiday makers are making a booking took $6500 from us in December 2007 them became totally uncontactable. We found ourselves arriving in Florida the following July as a party of 13 from Ireland with nowhere to stay. we were initially told this was a civil matter but have recently found out that Marcia Turner has been arrested for non payment of taxes and have had our case recorded by Monroe county as grand theft so hopefully something may now be done....

Anonymous said...

Marcia Tutner has been prosecuted and is sitting in jail. Dennis Workman and Steve Huffman are under investigation - all thanks to the new State Attorney, Dennis Ward.

Anonymous said...

from 4/24/09 kew west paper...Vacation-home renter charged with theft
Authorities finally may have run the so-called Ocean Paradise Villa out of business.

Marcia Turner-Workman, 45, was arrested Thursday, accused of stealing more than $63,000 from nine unwitting families who booked vacations at the Long Key home where Turner-Workman held a lease. She was charged with nine counts of larceny, each a third-degree felony that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

The arrest is a major step in an investigation that has continued in fits and jerks since at least February 2007, when Monroe County Code Enforcement slapped a no-occupancy order on the house due to its uninhabitable condition. The property was padlocked under court order in April 2007, but Turner-Workman continued to take reservations and collect deposits, authorities say. She also continued to advertise the house online, calling it a luxury vacation rental costing between $5,000 and $9,000 per week.

Several would-be renters of the home at 65890 Overseas Highway have shared their stories with The Citizen, which first reported on the home in summer 2007.

"We're very happy that she's not still victimizing people," said Linda Mumm, an Iowa resident who had to find other accommodations for 13 people upon arriving at Ocean Paradise Villa for a family vacation in January 2008. "Especially when you're booking long distance, it makes it very difficult and you kind of have to rely on people's good faith, and obviously they didn't have any."

Anonymous said...

Booked 23rd Jan 2011 at 8:13pm
DOB: 07/06/1963
Charges: 948.06, PROB VIOLATION –