After a year-long investigation, a Crawfordville. Florida manufactured home retailer has been arrested.
The Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office says that they received a complaint about James Bennett, the owner and operator of Bennett Better Built Homes, back in March 2017. WTXL says that he’s accused of scamming an elderly, blind man out of $20,000.
The complaint alleged that on March 10, 2017, a 68-year-old man who is legally blind and needs assistance with daily activities, applied for financing to purchase a $59,000 manufactured home from Bennett, per the Tallahassee Democrat.
The blind man reportedly made a $20,000 down payment to Bennett and intended to finance the rest.
According to the complaint, Bennett told the man he would receive documents detailing the transaction the next day, and they would be explained to him, because he’s legally blind.
But the would-be buyer never got the documents he signed, and nothing was explained to him, per the report.
On March 13, the 68-year-old finally got documents detailing the purchase price of the home, which included $11,221 in closing costs in addition to sales tax, title fees, etc. In total, the price had gone from $59,000 to $75,042, something the man had not agreed to.
While an industry professional could speculate that the seller might have avoided this legal problem with a careful explanation of the various additional costs, the complaint indicates that Bennett promised a refund after the man said he wanted the sale cancelled. Reports say no refund was forthcoming.
In May 2017, WCSO detectives contacted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) for a squad that specializes in financial investigations.
On March 16, 2018, the FDLE findings were brought to the State Attorney’s Office in Crawfordville. A warrant for Bennett’s arrest was issued three days after.
Bennett was arrested on Tuesday, and charged with exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult. He was booked into the Wakulla County Jail.
The retailer currently has a 1.5 star rating online from readers, and a B- rating with the Better Business Bureau. Of course, the accused is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law or a legal pleading. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)
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Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News on MHProNews.
Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.