(1) It is unlawful for any person, with intent to defraud the owner of real property, to engage in equity skimming, which is, to:

(a) Purchase, within a 3-year period, two or more single-family dwellings, two-family dwellings, three-family dwellings, or four-family dwellings, or a combination thereof, that are subject to a loan that is in default at the time of purchase or within 1 year after the time of purchase, which loan is secured by a mortgage or deed of trust;

Terms Used In Florida Statutes 697.08

  • Deed: The legal instrument used to transfer title in real property from one person to another.
  • Felony: A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.
  • Mortgage: The written agreement pledging property to a creditor as collateral for a loan.
  • person: includes individuals, children, firms, associations, joint adventures, partnerships, estates, trusts, business trusts, syndicates, fiduciaries, corporations, and all other groups or combinations. See Florida Statutes 88.6011
  • Real property: Land, and all immovable fixtures erected on, growing on, or affixed to the land.
(b) Fail to make payments under the mortgage or deed of trust as the payments become due, regardless of whether the purchaser is obligated on the loan; and
(c) Apply, or authorize the application of, rents from such dwellings for the person’s own use.
(2) A violation of subsection (1) constitutes a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.