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Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: Dream land scam

Updated: Tuesday, April 22 2014, 07:17 PM EDT
CINCINNATI (Howard Ain) -- Con men find a new way to extort money from unsuspecting people.
   
The victims don't know anything is wrong until they are slammed with huge fines.  It's a nightmarish scenario.  Someone files a trumped up lawsuit against you without you ever knowing.  A judge then rules against you and you end up owing thousands of dollars.  This has happened to dozens of people.

Fraud victim, Mark Woychik, said, "Once he's got you, he will never let you go."
 
Mark Woychik is talking about the man who was selling his dream piece of property.

"It was a beautiful little five acre piece of land on a hillside with a southern exposure.  I fell in love with the land," Woychik said.
 
He trusted the soft-spoken seller but now, 25,000 dollars in legal fees later, he believes that was a serious mistake.
 
"We have spent countless hours, time, money, trying to get justice.  Not only trying to get justice but trying to get him out of our life," he said.
 
US Postal Inspector, Dean Kowalefski, said, "Bernard Seidling would file bogus small claims actions in various courts throughout the state.  He filed a lawsuit in a county in which the victim did not reside."
 
He did it to Mark Woychik who, by the time he learned a court had ruled against him in his absence, was facing a judgement of more than $5,000.
 
Kowalefski said, "The victims didn't know they were being victimized.  They wouldn't find out until they wanted to sell their home or buy a car."
 
Woychik said, "He preys on people who can't afford lawyers and if they don't get a lawyer, and they roll over and try to walk away, he will come after them for the last penny."
 
Authorities say Seidling did it to 77 different victims; attempting to extort them out of more than 370,000 dollars.
 
US attorney, John Vaudreuil, said, "There is absolutely no doubt that he was after the money."
 
But in the end, Seidling did not get any from his victims.  Instead he ended up being sentenced to three years in federal prison and fined $10,000.  But Woychik is convinced that's not the end of this story.
 
"I have no doubt that after those three years are up, he's coming after me," Woychik said.
    
To protect yourself from this type of scam check your credit report.  There are a number of websites that allow you to do that for free.





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