Indiana sues 3 companies in alleged tax-sale scheme that may have defrauded Hoosiers

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By: Rick Callahan/Associated Press

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana has filed a lawsuit against three out-of-state companies alleging they bilked homeowners out of millions of dollars through a tax sale scheme.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed the lawsuit Monday against companies based in Florida, Oklahoma and Nevada, and their owners. It seeks more than $9 million in restitution and civil penalties.

The lawsuit alleges the defendants defrauded at least 48 homeowners in Allen, Johnson, Lake and Marion counties whose homes were sold by tax sale after they fell behind on their taxes.

Those homeowners, some of them seniors, were allegedly deceived about their legal rights to tax-sale surpluses and tricked into signing so-called quitclaim deeds in exchange for $450 or less.

That essentially gave the companies access to home equity sums ranging from about $2,000 to $900,000.