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Probe of Treasure Coast builder Port St. Lucie Properties expands amid fraud allegations, lawsuits

Contractors also placing more liens on homes, land connected to builder
Port St. Lucie Properties
Posted at 3:12 PM, Aug 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-29 15:48:44-04

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. — A second law enforcement agency is now looking at a St. Lucie County builder who is already under investigation for alleged fraud.

Some of the affected homeowners have liens totaling up to $75,000 on their homes, and others are going to court claiming the builder, Port St. Lucie Properties, is responsible for debts that they should not have to pay.

Homeowners and property owners say they're taking a financial beating.

"We're good, honest people who don't deserve this," property owner David Alvarado, who is a retired Navy sailor, said.

Alvarez said he is out more than $100,000 and only has a lot cleared on what he hoped would be a three-bedroom home.  

Ronnie Dinsmore, who is a real estate agent, told WPTV last month that he was paying rent in addition to a monthly mortgage on a home he can't move into, which is putting a strain on the family budget.  

"Killing it, just completely killing it, honestly," Dinsmore said.

PSL Properties Inc custom builder


Homeowners blame builder for allegedly failing to pay contractors

Dave Bohman
2:41 PM, Jul 20, 2023

Three homeowners have gone to court in the past month.

Stuart attorney Travis Walker has a handful of clients ready to file lawsuits of their own against Port St. Lucie Properties and owner Mark Montalto.

"The builder has been allowing liens to be placed on these people's homes, and then not paying for the work that's been done," Walker said. "So, essentially, it's basically a fraud."

In lawsuits filed this month, one homeowner claims to have paid Port St. Lucie Properties almost $220,000 for work that hasn't been completed, while subcontractors have filed $43,000 worth of liens.

Attorney Travis Walker is representing residents suing Port St. Lucie Properties.
Attorney Travis Walker is representing residents suing Port St. Lucie Properties.

A second homeowner with $60,000 in liens is suing the builder for breach of contract.

A third, who is paying a $286,000 mortgage, is also suing for violation of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

"It doesn't seem fair that the alleged victims are the ones who are having to pay the bills," Bohman said.

"If you think about it, there's the builder, and he's the one who's collecting the money, and you have the contractors who are trying to get paid, and then they lien the property, and then one who's stuck in the middle is the homeowner," Walker said.

While these civil cases head to court, Port St. Lucie police have their own investigation following eight homeowner complaints.

"Oh, it's definitely a criminal investigation right now," Port St. Lucie Police Chief Richard Del Toro said last week.  

The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office confirmed it is investigating five separate complaints.

Throughout the process, neither Montalto nor his lawyer have responded to WPTV's visits, emails or calls for comment.

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