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Ten business owners claim fraud over dashed American dreams

A sprawling case of alleged fraud, breach of contract, accusations and counter-accusations now ties Nevada in the West to our very own Georgia. A property-management company is at the eye of the storm, having been accused of a raft of commercial malpractices, including fraud. Many of the victims involved, who were allegedly defrauded of considerable sums, including their life savings, are recent immigrants to our country.

The saga includes the company (Piedmont Fields: a Macon-based property management firm that administers a number of local convenience stores), buyers, owners and lenders. It encompasses lawsuits in two jurisdictions, a countersuit, and two criminal complaints. In a merry-go-round of blame, buyers are alleging malpractice on the part of the property-management company and in turn have made accusations against its previous clients and also the lender. Even the owners and sellers of the convenience stores have found it necessary to deflect blame.

According to court documents and interviews of the parties, about ten interested buyers made deposits totaling $700,000 with the property-management company toward the end goal of buying convenience stores. The company brought in a lender to arrange loans for the buyers. However, the two (the property management company and the lender) allegedly missed the closing dates and the sellers/owners of the properties eventually walked out on the deal, leaving buyers who had forked out earnest money deposits to the middleman, high and dry. Most of the buyers have attempted to get refunds from the company but only two were successful.

One telling fact emerged from the drama: the man behind the property-management company allegedly has a 'past'. Only a year ago he filed for bankruptcy with over $30 million in unpaid liabilities. It is equally telling that the lender was hit with a $1.8 million judgment in a separate case this very year. Further, the two allied companies had suffered a revocation of their licenses four years ago. Scant consolation for the immigrant victims, these facts perhaps indicate the direction where blame may truly lie.

In commercial litigation as complex and intricate as this, multiple lawyers may well be needed to untangle the mess. To pursue their quest for justice, the allegedly defrauded buyers in Georgia may wish to consider the services of business and commercial law attorneys.

Source: Macon, "Macon property company in nasty court battle after deal goes bad," Rodney Manley, Aug. 21, 2011

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