A number of U.S. citizens who have purchased or sold real estate in The Bahamas have reported tremendous difficulties in the process, some even losing their entire life savings. For example, U.S. citizens have reported that after purchasing property in The Bahamas, they discovered that the seller did not have clear and/or indisputable ownership of the property. Some of the incidents reported include high-end real estate development projects on family islands where the development project was not completed and individuals could not get their money returned. There also have been reports that after the final sale and purchase of property, a second individual appeared with a deed of trust claiming rights to the property, causing long legal disputes that sometimes pend for years and are not resolved in favor of the purchaser. Prospective purchasers are advised to check the veracity and status of the prospective seller's ownership with a trusted attorney and/or title agency. A prospective purchaser may request that the Registrar General's Office for Deeds and Documents verify the name under which a deed is registered.
When selling a property, similar issues arise. If a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is. A prospective purchaser or seller may contact the Government of The Bahamas to check for any discrepancies in ownership of property, assessment for taxes, and when taxes were last paid.
Read full warning note here; https://bs.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/local-resources-of-u-s-citizens/real-estate-matters/
Please note : U.S. Emassy's note is not
From: Eyal Waters
Sent: Monday, August 1, 2016 8:05 AM
To: HaraNN@state.gov U.S. Embassy Nassau
Subject: Polly Cay - Real estate victims
Dear Mr. Hara,
Thank you for your reply,
As you can see in my previous email to Ms. Wallace, this is not about my case anymore since I don't feel that continuing to beg in the hope that my law firm in the Bahamas (Graham Thompson Company) who is supposed to defend my property's title, will honor the contract that they signed and are obligated too. For the record, I have invested large sums of money based on of GTC's ( Graham Thompson Co ) title search, Letter of Opinion on Title, and their promises and today they are behaving like this document is nothing but a piece of tissue. It is now clear that the property (Polly Cay, Exuma ) that I purchased has a dual title chain. Graham Thompson Company was hired by me to make sure that I received a clear and marketable title, which they promised, and confirmed, I would receive prior to my purchase of the property.
I believe you have all this information.
This matter is a lot to do with the current forgiving standing of the US Embassy in The Bahamas. Every time Mr. Borkowitz attempted to revise the Embassy’s Notice to US Citizens concerning Real Estate Matters to include more effective and tougher notices, he had to retract the revision.
For example, when he said at the very begin of the warning note that " Significant amounts of people got hurt" he had to tone down the wording from significant to number. A local newspaper mentioned about the updated Embassy note and quite frankly its showed up as a joke.
When Mr. Borkowicz removed Graham Thompson Co (GTC) from the attorney listing on the Embassy's website, since he had couple of complains about the firm, he had to put them back on the website, because, as he explained, the Embassy’s policy is that there are not enough complains against GTC. It is also my understanding from GTC's email to Mr. Borkowicz that GTC handled "high profile cases" for the Embassy.
At this time, I will not go over with all the confirmation that I have and yet I want to make it clear that I really believe and feel that Mr. Borkowicz did 110% and went many times, in great length, to follow up with my case, even though he mentioned over and over again that he cannot advocate for me and yet, on US Embassy's website the Embassy advocates and promotes many Bahamian attorneys with their name, company name, phone numbers, and even how much they charge. They are lying and misleading US citizens regarding the fees they charge, since if you call and inquire for a legal assistance in the Bahamas you will learn that they all ask 50 to 100% more than what was/is indicated on the Embassy's website.
The information on the US Embassy website is misleading and does not reflect reality. In other words, this note is misleading, it’s bits and pieces with clues that can be translated in many directions. There is no specific information and yet the Embassy has knowledge of the many cases and written evidence that they can use to reflect the real picture. Many US Citizens dream about purchasing a “slice of Heaven” in the Bahamas, and the US Embassy’s note makes it seems as though everything will be fine if you hire a reputable and trust worthy law firm to handle the purchase of real property in the Bahamas.
Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Due to my personal situation in the Bahamas, for the last 3 years I have spoken and investigated this issue, and I can tell you one thing very clearly; all of the victims that I came in contact with (victims that I find myself and victims that the Embassy put me in contact with) have one thing in common; They all got screwed, cheated, and defrauded by Bahamian law firms, and none of those victims hired a shady attorney or law firm who they found in some small office or some low scale unknown attorney.
So that is only one example about that note.
I have many question regarding the warning note and yet I have a question that bothers me the most;
How come the most important subject on this note has never been touched? All US Citizen real estate victims that filed a complaint at the Embassy have one thing in common; they are all in this situation because of corrupt attorneys and law firms that instead of protecting them from a problem - the attorneys and law firms are the ones who created the problem for them.
Those attorneys act as if the law does not apply to them, as a matter of fact, and as the Embassy knows, none of those attorneys paid consequences with their pocket or their license. And any person that knows about basic law and a civilized and uncorrupt law system will tell you right away that in any other country where the law system is relatively in order, those attorneys will never be able to operate this way.
I urge and insist that the Embassy will look closely and carefully into this matter and will find out very quickly that all this victims that have complained that their money got stolen from them is because of attorneys that were in charge on a real estate transaction who sold vacant land/properties that had dual title chain, no title at all, land that does not exist, investors that gave large sums of money to their attorney to pay Stamp Duty which never was fulfilled, fake ownership, fake partnership and the list goes on and on. The most important detail is not indicated on this note. All those victims have one thing in common; corrupt attorneys.
Those Bahamian attorneys feel very comfortable to targeting US investors, they believe that they are able to hide behind Bahamian borders. However, I trust that there is a way to change that and prove their repeated system of scamming US citizens is a fraud, and the justice system in the U.S. will eventually catch up with them. I can assure you that this matter is in progress.
It appears as though the Embassy puts more thought in how not to insult or aggravate the law system in the Bahamas and not as much thought as to how to make sure that this nonsense will stop and how to protects its own citizens from such a scam.
I would like to know when it would be possible to meet on US soil since I would like to bring up all these issues which lead me to such a claim that the Embassy worries more about not souring its relationship with Bahamian attorneys instead of protecting its US Citizens.
Thank you for your cooperation in this urgent matter,
Foreigners must be aware of the unacceptable level of corruption in The Bahamas. Real Estate matters