Court Records: Men Failed To Pay For 22 Homes Over 12 Years
8:51 AM, Nov 29, 2006
The following is a transcript of a story that 6News aired during its 6 p.m. newscast on Tuesday:Martha Weaver, 6News anchor (in studio): "Right now, there are more than 19,000 homes for sale in central Indiana -- the perfect targets for two men. They promise to buy, but all too often, they cost sellers more than they pay. Our Call 6 team spent weeks investigating the business, and Rafael Sanchez found a trail of victims stretching over a decade." Valdemar Ramos (talking to Joseph Stanley and Steven Harris, at Ramos' house): "It's my house. You are not supposed to be in the house, either, but you're there."Rafael Sanchez, Call 6 for Help reporter (narrating): "Val Ramos is fed up. He says Joseph Stanley and Steven Harris have been living in his house for seven months without paying a dime. Ramos is still paying the mortgage, but on this day, he needed a court order to collect his personal belongings."Ramos (to Stanley and Harris): "It's not your property. You don't own it. You never went to closing. It's not yours."Sanchez (narrating): "Ramos and his wife agreed to sell the home to Spectrum Property Corp. of Indiana, using a land contract. Under the deal, company owners Stanley and Harris agreed to make monthly payments and pay it off in two years. But Ramos says they moved in, changed the locks, and refused to pay. Stanley and Harris told us they don't have to pay because they repaired the air conditioning and heating systems."Sanchez (speaking to Joseph Stanley at Indianapolis' City-County Building): "You feel like you are the victims in this case?"Joseph Stanley (to Sanchez): "Yes, we are victims."Sanchez: "Why is that?"Stanley: "Because we were mistreated."Sanchez: "Have you done this many times before? I don't want to presume."Stanley: "No, we haven't done this many times before."Sanchez (narrating): "But that's not what we found. And it's not just problems with one or two homes. Court records show Stanley, Harris and their companies failed to pay for 22 homes. They lost every case."Stanley (to Sanchez): "These cases are not valid cases. These cases are the results of situations that were beyond our control."Sanchez (narrating): Tom Wells filed the first lawsuit we found -- in 1994, 12 years ago.Tom Wells (to Sanchez): "It sounds like maybe they've gotten better at it since I encountered them."Sanchez (narrating): He agreed to sell his condo to Joseph Stanley for more than $44,000.Wells (to Sanchez): "It was excruciatingly painful to try to get the money."Sanchez (narrating): "While he struggled to get payment, Stanley and Harris lived in Wells' condo and only paid once."Stanley (to Sanchez): "So what? Apparently there was a cash flow situation."Sanchez (narrating): "For each of the last dozen years, lawsuits show sellers in the same scenario. In 2001, court records show the legal battle with this property on Windham Lake Circle. Stanley and Harris bought it on contract in March, moved in, and did not move out until a court order the next January. In 1994, they moved into this Gainsborough Court home without paying. The judge overseeing the case ruled the men signed the deal with 'an intent to defraud.' "Sanchez (to Stanley): "What do you got to say to all these people, sir? What do you got to say to all these people? Really, come on."Stanley (to Sanchez): "You are a parasite. You are going to be held to account to the Lord thou God most high because he has the final say-so, and there's nothing you can do about it when he unleashes his wrath down on you."Sanchez (narrating): "Tom Wells was surprised when we told him the men with whom he'd done business 12 years ago were operating the same way today."Wells (to Sanchez): "I can't believe they're still doing it. They're still getting away with it. I guess the point is, it's got to be illegal, doesn't it? You'd think someone would be doing something about it."Sanchez (in studio): "And that's what we wanted to know. Tomorrow at 6 p.m., find out what we learned -- why Mr. Harris and Mr. Stanley have been able to do this to so many homeowners. Now, on the Ramos home, they have until Thursday to move out. But Mr. Stanley tells us he plans to appeal that decision."Weaver (to Sanchez): "What's in it for them, though?"Sanchez: "One, they get to live in homes for free. For the last 12 years, there's been a home they lived in for free, or they've collected the rent from the rental property and never paid the seller. We'll have more on our investigation tomorrow on the news at 6 p.m."