Scumbag Mark Stopa Busted Stealing The Home Of His Elderly Client Named Russell Layton As Part Of An Equity Skimming Scam
The tips about the criminal activity of disbarred lawyer and all around scumbag Mark Stopa keep coming in. This latest Russell Layton story is not for the squeamish.
This elder-abuse story shows how dangerous financial predator Mark Stopa is to the public.
Our first Mark Stopa victim is the late Russell Layton. Layton and his wife Evelyn used the retirement savings to purchase their dream home at 4837 Eagle Cove Blvd. in Palm Harbor, Florida for $157,000 in 1993. The elderly couple decided to take advantage of rising property values and refinanced the house in 2006 with a $295,000 loan with Bank of America.
Unfortunately, the following year, the real estate market began to collapse before finally cratering in 2009.
In addition to dealing with the devastating devaluing of their home, the Laytons began struggling with serious health issues. In February 2011, they stopped paying their mortgage. Bank of America told them they could not get a loan modification unless they were 90-days delinquent.
On November 23, 2012, Evelyn passed away at the age of 71. This left Mr. Layton alone and facing a potential foreclosure.
On April 18, 2014, Everbank who acquired the loan from Bank of America filed foreclosure (Pinellas Case #: 14–3018–CI). Everbank claimed the Laytons owed a balance of $292,198.29. Russell Layton was served May 20, 2014.
Enter Scumbag Mark Stopa
Mr. Layton hired scumbag attorney Mark Stopa to defend the foreclosure and Stopa filed a notice of appearance to defend his new elderly widower on June 3, 2014.
Stopa is not one to resist taking advantage of the financial misfortune of an elderly client. The ethically challenged lawyer then conspired to defraud a vulnerable and trusting Mr. Layton.
Stopa manipulated Layton into signing over the title to his home. Mr. Layton signed a Quit Claim Deed to a New Mexico LLC named Quest Systems.
Who is Quest Systems? Unbeknownst to Mr. Layton, Quest Systems is a New Mexico shell company owned and operated by Mark Stopa.
It turns out that Stopa concocted some fabricated story that he would retain all funds for the Deed transfer. Stopa allegedly told Layton that the funds would go toward Layton’s outstanding attorney fees owed by Layton. So in the end, Mark Stopa lied to his elderly widower foreclosure defense client and paid him nothing. Thus, stealing Layton’s home out from under him.
For years, scumbag Mark Stopa promised all his clients a “free house.” In the end, Mark Stopa got not just one free house but hundreds of free houses by stealing them from his clients.
Scumbag Mark Stopa Continued Milking Rent Equity Out Of The Home for Over 8 YEARS Until October 2022!
On Thanksgiving Day 2014, Russell Layton was forced to spend the day vacating his home. Financial terrorist Mark Stopa was evicting him from his home of 21 years.
Why would Stopa do this? Rental prices in Pinellas County were skyrocketing. Stopa knew he could skim more of the equity by pocketing higher rents and use the house as his personal ATM machine. Mr. Layton put his trust in scumbag Mark Stopa who only saw an opportunity to defraud a lonely widower and unjustly enrich himself.
Mark Stopa left Mr. Layton a homeless pauper who was forced to move in with his son while Stopa collected thousands of dollars per month on his home. Mr. Layton died on June 17, 2018. Stopa delayed the foreclosure for over EIGHT YEARS on Mr. Layton’s home and its estimated he pocketed over $280,000 in rent after evicting his elderly client. These rents rightly belonged to Russell Layton and not Mark Stopa and Adrienne Federico.
However, Stopa wasn’t finished milking money out of the property. He continued milk money from the property until October 2022.
After Layton deeded the house to Stopa, Stopa never informed the court that he was now the proxy owner of the property. Stopa also made it appear to the court he was still representing Mr. Layton.
The Florida Bar Suspends And Disbars Stopa
The Bar suspended Mark Stopa’s law license in August 2018. The Florida Supreme Court then permanently revoked Stopa’s license in September 2019.
As a result, Stopa had to remove himself from representing the late Russell Layton.
Stopa then hired attorney Jason Clark to replace him defending the foreclosure. Clark defended the foreclosure in the name of the late Russell Layton for the benefit of Mark Stopa and Quest Systems.
For another four years, Stopa and Clark misled the court and Everbank and later Ditech’s lawyers in order to continue perpetrating clearly an illegal rent equity skimming scam. Why is Attorney Jason Clark still defending this case?
Stopa Starts A New Foreclosure Scam
In May 2022, it became clear that Pinellas County was ramping up foreclosures. Stopa knew he was going to finally lose the property to the bank and with it roughly $3,000 a month in income. So, what is an ethical misfit to do?
Mark Stopa concocted a scheme to defraud the public using the county court foreclosure system. Stopa used one of his shell companies “UniTrustee Services LLC” to place a bogus lien on the property. He then hired attorney Carla Turner–Hahn to file a foreclosure lawsuit against Quest Systems (Pinellas Case #: 22–3018–CO).
Stopa and Quest have been subject to a blitz of media coverage. Stopa has used the company in a number equity skimming scams.
In other words, Stopa was suing himself. In the lawsuit, Stopa alleged that Quest Systems owed UniTrustee Services $29,500. However, like many things Mark Stopa claims, he couldn’t prove Quest Systems owed UniTrustee Services any money because the debt was completely fabricated.
We know Stopa is the operator of UniTrustee because of an unrelated case. In that case, Stopa signed an affidavit in October 2021 stating that he is the manager of UniTrustee Services LLC (Pinellas County Official Records Book 21758, Page 370).
Stopa’s Fraudulent Foreclosure Surplus Scam Almost Nets It’s First 2 Victim
In June 2022, the home formerly owned by the Laytons was worth $550,000.
Inexperienced auction buyer Spiro Naco bid $350,100 on the property thinking he was “winning” a great deal. However, he failed to do proper due diligence. Thus, failing to discover the hidden first mortgage in the name of the late Russell Layton until after winning the auction. Court documents show the late Mr. Layton owed $588,361.11 with penalties, interest and legal fees.
Stopa is well aware of this mortgage balance and that there is no equity in this home. On paper, the court blindly approved UniTrustee Services LLC’s claim and awarded a judgment amount of $29,500. Quest Systems as owner was entitled to the surplus of $320,600.
Fortunately, Spiro Naco figured out the fraud and refused to pay the balance due of his bid. Thus forfeiting his 5% deposit of $17,505 to Stopa’s shell company. The sale was rescheduled by the clerk to July 27, 2022 to trap another victim.
Fortunately, after bidding $87,100 on July 28, 2022, the second auction bidder discoverd the fraud and refused to pay the bid balance due. As a result, they forfeited their 5% deposit of $4,355 to Mark Stopa. The sale was set for third time on October 11, 2022.
Third Time Is The Charm For Ethical Misfit Mark Stopa
On October 11, 2022, the third time was the charm for Stopa. This time the scam sticks. A third buyer named Orsola Angelino paid $106,100 for the negative equity Russell Layton home with mortgage balance due of $588,361. Mark Stopa knew full well the home had no equity and fabricated a phony foreclosure debt for the sole purpose of tricking an inexperienced auction bidder.
Pinellas County issued a Certificate of Title to Orsola Angelino on October 25, 2022. She officially bought a home for $106,100 with an outstanding debt of $588,361.
The 6th Circuit Court allowed Stopa to illegally steal $31,087.36 from three separate auction bidders. The county released these funds to Stopa’s UniTrustee on October 19, 2022. An additional $92,251.56 in surplus funds was released to Stopa on the same day to his Quest Systems. All of this money was the result of a completely fabricated, fraudulent “debt”.
In total, it is estimated the Mark Stopa and Adrienne Federico crime family netted over $400,000 in stolen funds on Russell Layton’s home. Stealing nearly $280,000 in illegal rent from his former client Russell Layton alone. You can read the full timeline of the fraud here. RIP Russell. You and your wife did not die in vain. Justice is coming. Tick tock Mr. Stopa…. Tick tock.
Are You A Victim Of One Of Mark Stopa’s Real Estate Or Foreclosure Scams?
Let Judge Anthony Rondolino know how you feel about Mark Stopa by calling (727) 582-7272.
You can also read more about Mark Stopa on MarkStopaVictims.com