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Purchase Money Mortgage deal turns into nightmare for LaBelle homeowner

Posted at 6:12 PM, Jul 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-31 22:32:39-04

LABELLE, Fla. — It's an extremely upsetting time for Terrie Pearce as the sale of her brother's home in LaBelle has turned into a nightmare.

Terrie sold her house to someone well known to Fox 4 News.

Carrie Lee, who goes by the name of Carrie Lee Heminger, is a local interior decorator and self-described general contractor whom Fox 4's Lisa Greenberg investigated last year.

During that investigation, Greenberg found documents showing Carrie Lee took thousands of dollars from customers for furnishings never delivered and work never done.

Lee's also been accused of bouncing checks.

The latest case starts with Terrie selling the home to Carrie in what's called a 'Purchase Money Mortgage' deal.

Essentially Terrie turned ownership of the home over to Carrie with the understanding that Carrie would pay $5,000 a month for a year until the house was paid in full.

The problems began when Terrie missed the first payment, then the second, and paid only part of the third.

But this is more than a story about money. Photos of the home before it was sold show a quaint, albeit, old cottage.

Pictures and video of it now show it has been trashed.

According to Terrie, it had original hardwood floors, 60-year old cedar cabinets. She says it had a beautiful sink area like her grandmother had in her house — all-porcelain.

The inside has since been gutted. Some of the siding is missing, and the picket fence has been pulled out and piled up nearby. Windows have been removed, and the shed is damaged.

The ' Stop Work' orders that were placed on the front of the house have been ignored.

The one thing that especially upset Terri is when she found that the porch had been removed and smashed on the front lawn.

She suspects it wasn't taken off gently to be reattached later but instead yanked off the home and smashed to the ground deliberately.

Talking about what Terri saw of the house, which had been in the family for 30-years, is too much to take.

Carrie Lee declined an interview after many attempts; however, she responded with a brief text statement. In it, she claims the house was in terrible condition when she bought it. Saying, in her words, it was " uninhabitable." She also sent along with photographs as proof of that claim.

Handyman Mike Jenkins did minor repairs on the home and was the last person to leave it before it was sold. He says that is just not true. He says it was livable and on a scale of one to ten - he says it was an 8 and a half.

Terrie said the only thing that was missing when she sold the home was the toilet bowl which Mike was in the process of replacing.

The house initially sold for $60-thousand. Terrie thinks it's now worth half that. Meanwhile, Terrie's attorney Steve Ramunni says this should serve as a cautionary tale.

Attorney Steve Ramunni says whatever deal you are involved in always take the time to go online and investigate the person you are dealing with.

Both Terrie and Carrie are scheduled to appear in court August 8th in LaBelle. Terrie's hopeful she'll get possession of the home and says she plans on selling it again for whatever price she can get.