(WSVN) - He was losing his home, she paid a debt relief company and got no relief. They contacted Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser, but what happened after we aired the stories? Here is tonight’s update.

For more than two years, Naomi Brown’s 11 children had watched as her home sat in foreclosure.

Theodis Jones: “With sleepless nights, it’s been rough on me. Depressed. It’s been hard.”

Hard because his mother left the house to Theodis, and he was the one who was losing it.

Theodis Jones: “My ex-girlfriend went behind my back and took two loans off of this house without my knowledge of it.”

Let’s back up to 2021, when Theodis’ ex, Adrienne McSweeney, went to a private lender to borrow $120,000 using Theodis’ house as collateral.

She was accused of pulling it off by stealing Theodis’ driver’s license and getting this guy to pretend to be Theodis.

Theodis Jones: “The picture didn’t match.”

A few months later, the lender began to foreclose on the house.

Theodis Jones: “It’s been a crime committed against me and the people trying to take my property.”

When Theodis contacted McSweeney and told her he was calling the police, she texted back, “All I ask is time to fix it. Less than eight weeks.”

Patrick Fraser: “So you’re going to lose your mama’s house?”

Theodis Jones: “I don’t want to lose it, not if you can help me.”

Mark Mastrarrigo then stepped in to represent Theodis.

He had the pictures from the closing, but most importantly, a handwriting expert.

This is the impostor’s signature. This is Theodis’.

Mark Mastrarrigo: “And she gave us her highest of highest variability. That is not Theodis’ signature.”

Mark had bank statements that showed McSweeney got the money. But the lender told me they were convinced Theodis and McSweeney worked together.

Another year passed. Then, after a deposition with Theodis, the attorney for the title insurance company was convinced Theodis was the victim. They paid the lender the $120,000 back, and the foreclosure against Theodis was dismissed.

Mark Mastrarrigo: “We won, but he won. His house was at stake.”

Mark handed the judge’s order to Theodis. His house was free and clear again.

Theodis Jones: “I can’t even imagine explaining how I feel right now. It’s a blessing.”

It was a long battle that took a good determined lawyer to save Theodis.

Patrick Fraser: “Theodis couldn’t have done this on its own, could he?”

Mark Mastrarrigo: “Absolutely not, and if you don’t have somebody on your side that knows what they’re doing, that’s going to do the right thing, chances are you’re going to get a bad result.”

The judge also ordered the title insurance company to pay Theodis’ legal fees. Another victory for him.

Theodis Jones: “I thank everybody — I thank you, I thank Howard, I thank my attorney Mark, my family. It’s been real rough, man, two years and four months.”

Speaking of winning, remember Karen Dematas, who hired a debt relief company?

Karen Dematas: “I’ve heard about debt relief companies, and I just thought that it was good.”

She had an $11,000 credit card bill. CDS debt relief told her they would get the debt wiped out if she paid them $199 a month. She did.

Karen Dematas: ‘And I would be debt free within a year, a year and a half. That’s what they told me.”

For six months, Karen paid them, then found out they didn’t get her debt lowered at all.

She asked us to get her $1,200 back. But we discovered the company closed one office in West Palm Beach, then another, and the registered owner didn’t return my dozen phone calls.

Patrick Fraser: “I tried. I could not get them to give the money back.”

Karen Dematas: “I understand, I understand. It’s sad, but I understand.”

Our story aired. And then…

Karen Dematas: “He sent three payments through Zelle: one $500, one $500 and then $200.”

The debt relief company returned Karen’s $1,200.

Karen Dematas: “Because Channel 7 showed and made the report on him, and I guess he felt guilty.”

A nice, unexpected surprise.

Karen Dematas: “I was really shocked. I was really shocked.”

A good shock, but Karen still has that big credit card debt and no way to pay it.

As for the woman accused of taking $120,000 in Theodis’ case, Miami-Dade Police are still investigating, but they haven’t charged her with anything.

Losing a battle that’s devastating you? Need someone you can trust? Air your story with us, to cheer you up and spread your good news.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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