Titus and Scruggs situation - Posted by Nate-WI

Posted by Ryan (NC) on October 16, 2006 at 20:37:52:

I too am guilty of trying to hard to help as well…

On the flip side it’s a fairly small world and I had a rather pleasurable call on an ad tonight from a gentleman that stuck a dagger fully in my back about a year ago and caused me to loose a small amount of cash… Looks like he’s screwed his current LL and is looking for a new place!

Maybe it was just my sick mind but I thought it was kinda funny and justifying after he realized exactly who I was… What goes around WILL come around.

Best wishes,
Ryan Needler

Titus and Scruggs situation - Posted by Nate-WI

Posted by Nate-WI on October 13, 2006 at 14:17:34:

Hey all,

Here is a link I found on this site that has a story about Lonnie get tricked out of money and many others like his situation from a guy named Troy Titus. Lonnie…hope your doing well and this guy gets what he deserves!



Re: Titus and Scruggs situation - Posted by Bill Martin

Posted by Bill Martin on October 15, 2006 at 15:19:38:

I saw the video, what exactly did Mr. Titus do?
Was it partnership in commercial property, trust
deeds, hard money loans?

If cd’s are paying 5%, you are offered 18% on risky
mortgages or hard money loans with no effort on the
investors part, is not that part of the gamble?

Maybe both parties are at fault on this, greed on
both sides?


*I do not have a cold heart, I see the easy
money mentality so often, even with very
sophisticated business people who should know

Re: Titus and Scruggs situation - Posted by Lonnie

Posted by Lonnie on October 15, 2006 at 11:24:26:

Hi Rick,

Thanks for posting. Yes, I do agree that if a check will fix the problem, it?s not a real problem. (If you can write the check). However, the elderly widow that I talked with that gave Titus her life savings of $800,000 would probably think otherwise. She can?t write a check.
And another elderly woman I talked with who refinanced her house & ?invested? over $500,000 with Titus, and now can?t pay her husband?s nursing home bills because she?s not receiving any payments from her ?investment?, would probably think otherwise. She not only can?t write a check, but she?s now about $40,000 in arrears to the nursing home. What happens to her husband now? (And these are just two of the people I?ve talked with.

Rick, I hope you (and everyone else) will continue to spread the word to Real Estate Clubs, conventions, seminars and everyone you talk with. I think we all have a duty to do what we can to prevent this kind of abuse to innocent, vulnerable and naïve people, especially the elderly. We CAN make a difference, so let?s DO IT!

Thanks for helping,


Re: Stay Tuned - Posted by Lonnie

Posted by Lonnie on October 13, 2006 at 21:24:55:

By now I hope all of you have seen the TV report on Troy Titus. Folks, I hope my experience will be a wake-up call for all of you. Especially, if, and when, you ever consider doing a ?Joint-Venture?, ?Co-Venture? ?Partnership? or an investment of any kind with a ?friend? in a business deal. As many times as I?ve been around the block, it?s embarrassing to admit I was taken in by a slick con artist?and someone I fully trusted and considered a good friend. Goes to show that sometimes it?s not your enemies you have to worry about, it?s your ?friends?.

But my case clearly shows that when you get careless & drop your guard, it can, and will happen. And it?s my fault, because I violated both my number one, and number two rules of investing; # 1. I failed to get proper collateral. # 2. I failed to stay in control of my money. The only times I have ever lost money is when I violated these two rules. Don?t let it happen to you. If it?s your money, get sufficient collateral, and stay in control.

Let?s face it, $500,000 is a lot of money to lose. But that?s not what bothers me the most. I made a stupid mistake & I can live with it. It?s the misery and devastation this predator has caused so many others that keeps me awake. Why this man is still walking around free and still able to scam people, is beyond me. But hopefully, he won?t be for much longer. I intend to do everything I can to see that he gets what he deserves, and I?m asking all of you to help me. And you can help by spreading the word to everyone you know, especially the Real Estate Clubs, seminars, conventions and etc. That?s where he usually trolls for his victims.

If you, or anyone you know has had a bad experience with Troy Titus, I urge you to contact me with the info and I?ll see that it gets to the proper authorities.

There will be more news reports on Titus in the near future. And his court date on Oct 20th will be covered by the same reporter that interviewed me. Stay tuned.


Re: Titus and Scruggs situation - Posted by Tony Colella

Posted by Tony Colella on October 13, 2006 at 19:18:05:

It makes me sick to my stomach that anyone, especially an attorney and friend of Lonnie’s would take advantage of a man who has given so much to so many.

I am glad Lonnie had the courage to go on the news and alert the public to this man’s character and m.o.

This hits home in so many ways and it is one reason that I am so very, very leary of people posting here asking for others to “partner” with them or to buy their notes from them. Crooks are in every walk of life and if they can get Lonnie’s money they can get yours.

Be careful please and I most certainly hope that justice is swift and strong in this case.


Re: Titus and Scruggs situation - Posted by Todd (AZ)

Posted by Todd (AZ) on October 13, 2006 at 17:58:49:

Wow, thanks for the link. First I’ve heard of it. Todd (AZ)

Re: Titus and Scruggs situation - Posted by Sailor

Posted by Sailor on October 16, 2006 at 09:45:45:

My understanding is this was a 0% loan to a trusted friend &
attorney,thus your comment is not applicable. My late lamented
friend, Howard, once told me a story about a fellow faculty
member friend duping him out of 10k. The guy had a gambling
problem & said that if he didn’t repay 10k right away he was
going to be killed. The 10k loan was probably spent @ the track,
& not a penny of it was ever seen again. Howard told me that the
folks most likely to steal from you are those who are close, as we
are more cautious w/strangers. That is really true in my
experience. Many, if not most, identity thefts occur w/in families
or a circle of friends & associates. The simple fact is that if we
are nice & trusting, we are vulnerable to almost anyone, including
parents, children & grandchildren. It isn’t a matter of getting
burned because one is greedy. I have seen middle-aged parents
cry & be driven to bankruptcy because of the acts of their thieving
offspring. Offhand, I can’t even think of a family among my
friends that hasn’t been hit from w/in. Desperation or a sense of
entitlement can happen @ all levels of society, & no one is really
safe. My thanks to Lonnie for sharing his story, & for his efforts
on behalf of other victims. We should all learn from his


Looter Mentality - Posted by Tony Colella

Posted by Tony Colella on October 15, 2006 at 22:16:53:

I am a bit concerned by your post stating that the ?easy money mentality? (and the assumption that a return of 18% is a risky venture)necessitates a practice of Lender Beware, as if they should expect to lose their money and almost be surprised if they do not.

There are some very basic faults with this line of thinking. The idea of high returns requiring high risk is what keeps self help investment books on the shelves. High returns do not (or should not) require high risk for a professional investor. If the risk is that high, they simply don?t do the deal. Success comes in controlling the deal so that principle money invested is not at risk and that multiple exits are available that will protect that money in the event things do not go according to plan. By taking calculated risks the investor is able to reap actual, in pocket profits as opposed to a non- professional investor who takes his or her dollar and a dream and buys a Lottery ticket or speculates (hopes) that the retail house they just bought as an ?investment? will appreciate like their realtor suggested.

The ?easy money mentality? you mention is the Lottery mindset, not an investor?s mindset. The lottery player understands that the odds of them receiving a huge profit with no effort on their part is slim to none. These people are not investors. They are gamblers or dreamers but not INVESTORS. They do not EXPECT to receive a profit, they only dream of it. Even more poignant is that they do NOT expect to see their INVESTED DOLLAR(S) ever again. In fact they expect to lose it. You cannot remain a full time investor for long if you expect to lose your investment dollars. That is why risk assessment is conducted, controls put in place in the event things go wrong naturally (without theft or fraud).

There is a reason Lottery players and ?easy money? investors don?t quit their day jobs unless and until the unlikely event they actually hit the lottery. The full time investor cannot gamble and keep food on the table for too long while waiting for the dream to come in.

When corporate employees such as those of Enron etc. invest in their pension and retirements through the company they do so expecting the money to be placed in safe hands. When those hands loot the safe, the public and the employees (rightfully so) cry out. When that money is not paid back, we are angered are we not? Should we simply tell them instead, ?remember folks, easy money means high risk and since the money was invested with little investment effort on your part, you took the gamble??

If your trusted friend and attorney borrowed your car and after several months of you asking for him to return it without him doing so, would you not file criminal charges against him to get your car back? How valuable is that car compared to $500,000 in cash?

If we follow your post?s train of thought, wouldn?t we have to conclude that if someone lends money secured for say, an 18% mortgage (implying high return/high risk) and the money is not repaid, the borrower should be excused from repayment and recourse because it?s ?all part of the gamble?? There are investments, speculations and gambles. Your comments blend and confuse them; leading to the same mentality that I believe allows people like Titus to sleep at night.


Re: Titus and Scruggs situation - Posted by bill russell

Posted by bill russell on October 15, 2006 at 17:52:57:

Google Troy Titus, study his disbarment, read some of the other testimony other than Lonnie’s, and see what you think about the intent of the entremanure, grin.

Re: Stay Tuned - Posted by JohnP

Posted by JohnP on October 14, 2006 at 15:00:07:

Lonnie, sorry for the lost. Yep, we all let our guard down once in a while, and unfortunately no matter experienced you are these things happen. Now, fortunate for you you are able to make some of that money back through your knowledge. Think about all of the folks that can’t. Titus, just needs one trip back to the “Old Wood Shed”, to set him right.

John Palmisano
South Florida

Re: Titus and Scruggs situation - Posted by Tony Colella

Posted by Tony Colella on October 16, 2006 at 10:20:29:

What’s the old mafia saying,“keep your family close but your enemies closer.”

Maybe it should read “keep your money close and friends and family closer.”

While I have never been burned by a family member (yet?) I can say that I have known people who claimed to be investors, they appeared to walk the walk, talk the talk and new everybody in this business until one day we all find out just what criminals they really were. They fraudulently stole money from many of their friends and investors.

I firmly believe the only thing that kept me from falling victim to one of them was that I was a police officer a that time and don’t think he wanted that type of risk added to his scam. I will admit that I would have been an easy mark as my guard was down for having known this person and the investors he knew who sang his praises till the truth was discovered.

We all want to think the best of family and friends and it is easy to ignore the things we don’t like to see that otherwise would have sent off bells and whistles if exhibited in an arms length transaction with a stranger.

This is yet another life’s lesson that Lonnie has experienced and paid for us all. I am glad that he is humble enough to share this loss with us in the hopes that we all will learn from it. Lonnie just paid a 1/2 million dollars for us to attend this seminar, please put that money to good use.

Thank Lonnie.


Re: Looter Mentality - Posted by Bill Martin

Posted by Bill Martin on October 16, 2006 at 11:40:07:

I think you made my point Tony. Lonnie mentioned
an elderly widow lost $800,000.00 and another
elderly woman lost $500,000.00. I am sure they
figured they would get only get 5% on a cd and
choose to risk their life savings on some sure
thing to get 18%. Well you know the ending to this
story. (I really doubt these elderly woman
were going to ride the speed bumps)

I realize you guys brag about getting these very
high returns on your mobile home deals, which you
do, but you are active investors putting in time
and effort to earn these returns. (the key
word is earn these returns)

I know you Tony mentioned you were a former police
officer. In my area police officers earn about
$75,000 per year, full medical, excellent
retirement, vacations, sick leave etc. Once you
subtract this from your mobile home earnings the
percentages are not so hot. I am not saying mobile
home investing is not a good thing, just the
percentages are always compared to the stock market,
bank cd’s which require zero or very little effort.

I read a post where a mobile home dealer wanted
25-30 units rented and then retire. I can tell you
having 25-30 rented mobile homes is far from a
carefree retirement. I can just imagine the phone
calls the investor will receive per day and the
problems that will go along with these units.


Re: Looter Mentality - Posted by Lonnie

Posted by Lonnie on October 16, 2006 at 10:43:30:

Well said, Tony. But I get the feeling that Bill?s mind is already made up and anything you say will just bounce off. It?s awfully hard to convince people with Bill?s mentality that high returns don?t have to be high risk. A conservative 5% ?safe? return is all some people will ever be comfortable with. That?s why they retire on fixed incomes.

In my case, it wasn?t a greed factor, or a high risk factor for either party. The problem occurred because a long time trusted and successful investor (and supposedly friend) chose to start scamming people. And it?s so ironic, because he?s highly intelligent and an excellent deal-maker and there was no reason for him to do things in a dishonest and unethical way. That?s the part none of us can understand. If he had only done what he promised, (and he easily could have), everybody would have come out in good shape. But he allowed it to turn into a Ponzi Scheme.

It?s so strange that the biggest crooks seem to be the most intelligent. People who could make a fortune legally, seem to like the challenge of seeing how much they can steal.

BTW. Bob Matthews, the reporter who interviewed me, is now interviewing one of the lawyers who worked with Titus. It will run Tuesday) at 11PM. Should be interesting. If you miss it, go to www.wtkr.com and look for the link.

Best wishes,


Re: Stay Tuned - Posted by Clint

Posted by Clint on November 07, 2006 at 17:06:34:

Hi Lonnie,

I posted on this site over a year ago about my experience with Mr. Titus. I also posted on Real Investors where experienced guys like Sherman Ragland openly defended Titus. No one believed Titus could turn into a crook, but that’s what happened. “Why?” is irrelevant at this point, but stopping him is very relevant.

I met Titus at a June 2005 Mark Sumpter Short Sale seminar where Titus was a guest speaker representing Premier Law Group. In my 1-1 consultation with the fraud, I shared with him a legal situation I was in with a Limited Partnership and a lawsuit on a property.

Long story short, I paid Titus $10K to set up two entities to purchase a note and perform a “controlled foreclosure” on a property. Titus set up the entities, but when the foreclosure time came along, he was too busy fighting with the Va. Bar (I’m guessing) to manage the process. As a result, he cost me another year of legal wrangling and about another $15K in legal expenses. I’m just now (today) purchasing this property…

Please submit my e-mail address to any authorities handling the Titus case. I’ll be more than happy to provide my testimony.

Please believe that Titus will get what he’s got coming in the end… Whether you believe in God or Karma, what comes around will go around…

Kind Regards - Clint

Re: Looter Mentality - Posted by Tony Colella

Posted by Tony Colella on October 16, 2006 at 15:12:06:

Bill I am not certain I understand what you mean when you say “In my area police officers earn about $75,000 per year, full medical, excellent retirement, vacations, sick leave etc. Once you subtract this from your mobile home earnings the percentages are not so hot.”

I left law enforcement over 5 years ago and my income is now from my mobile home investments (and has been for years). I do agree that these investments aren’t totally passive. I also work about 2 hours a day outside of my home (not exactly a full time job like the police beat was). I do not compare my investments to CD’s but I also don’t believe that Lonnie was buying trailer parks. His was a passive paper deal that amounted (from what I understand) to a loan that Titus signed personally.

I don’t care to debate this forever as it seems we are both set in our opinions and will not likely change the others mindset.

I do believe it is unfortunate that you feel as your wrote: “I read a post where a mobile home dealer wanted 25-30 units rented and then retire. I can tell you having 25-30 rented mobile homes is far from a
carefree retirement. I can just imagine the phone
calls the investor will receive per day and the
problems that will go along with these units.”

I semi-retired on about that number and simple time could easily make that number a full time retirment. Will I always rent the units? No. But not because I get tons of calls as you imagine, in fact I get very few (hate to work more than 2 hours a day). In time I will likely sell some of the properties off for cash and owner finance the rest to create the passive invesment you speak of.

The truly passive profit is mistaken by most of the general public. It is not the annual interest rate that is the profit, it is the spread from what we pay or owe and what we sell or receive. For example, lets say I sell one of my small parks off 10 years from now. One park is already worth 2 1/2 times what I paid for it using very conservative figures. If I wait 10 more years that figure will increase even more. When I sell my profit will not be from the 8% interest (or whatever rate is agree upon) but rather the spread. The interest is small potatoes.

Investing is not for everyone Bill so I can understand your only imagining what it will be like but keep this in mind. When we image, we always imagine the worst and then magnify that many times over. Its like Mom telling us when we were kids that Dad is going to Spank us when he gets home for what we did that day. We spend hours crying over just how bad its going to be only to find out that Dad would sit us down and talk (maybe a spanking though rare). What we imagined was far worse than the reality. I find that all the horror stories from inexperienced, non professional landlords who know somebody’s brothers, neighbors cousin portray the image of how much work landlording is and how painful it is. The reality is that as a full time landlord you set the schedule as to how and when you respond to problems. Being professional you use the court system and treat people fairly. This weeds out 22 hours of headaches forcing me to work those brutal “2 hours.”

Before you say it, yes some days I work 3. It can actually get that bad.


You make me laugh - Posted by Keith

Posted by Keith on October 16, 2006 at 12:52:14:

The way you keep using the word “risk” as an excuse for Titus to “steal” is pretty funny. You sound like a defense attorney. You might want to try that position on somebody else cause we ain’t buyin’ it here.


Re: Looter Mentality - Posted by Tony Colella

Posted by Tony Colella on October 16, 2006 at 11:30:01:

Back when I was a police officer investigating all kinds of crimes I remember telling one of the senior detectives just that the criminal mind is an ingenious mind. They come up with all kinds of amazing ways to do something that most of us would never have thought of in a million years.

The missing link is their ability to weigh risk and time vs. reward. In most cases they get caught anyways but what would amaze me was the amount of time, enegry and thought they put into the crime and so often only stole something worth very little. Had they worked a job for that same time frame they would have made twice as much Legally! Had they put that mindset to work on legal investments they would have done far better still.

I cannot understand it. It seems that they enjoy the game as much as we all do but at some point a flaw in their character causes them to attack friends and family funds instead of just following through with the orginal deal and making the money legally. Its like some predatory gene kicks in and takes over.

To put it in the animal kindom its like the lion pride stalking a kill. The work to separate the one they want from the herd and slowly work toward it as a group. Everyone is about to get fed well. Then all of the sudden one lion attacks the other killing it and managing to take a few bites before the other lions run it off, banishing it forever from hunting and feeding with them again.

Re: Looter Mentality - Posted by Sailor

Posted by Sailor on October 16, 2006 at 12:39:25:

I have come to the conclusion that early childhood plays a
remarkably important part in who we become, yet I have seen
instances where a person seems to change character overnight.
We had a good friend who lived on a boat a short dinghy ride
from ours in Newport Beach. We were quite close, had taken
classes together, & one of my former (adult) students was living
w/him. All of a sudden, in his 40’s his sweet personality totally
changed. He developed outrageous prejudices, took
inappropriate risks, & became generally obnoxious. Thought
perhaps it was a mid-life thing, but it turned out he had
developed a real addiction (as opposed to recreational usage) to
marijuana. It isn’t just addictions, but traumatic experiences,
biochemical changes, illness or chronic pain can alter
personalities & behavior. There are usually signs that should tip
us off that something is happening, but sometimes the closer we
are to folks (especially our offspring), the more we tend to ignore
the signals or make excuses. Don’t like to spread gloom & doom,
but it is important to remain aware, for our own good & those
around us.


Re: Looter Mentality - Posted by Tony Colella

Posted by Tony Colella on October 16, 2006 at 15:19:36:

There are two cliches that come to mind. “To close to the forest to see the trees,” is one as we do not see the big picture when those close to us go bad until the forest fire has consumed us.

The second is one Scott repeats often. “The boiling frog story. When a frog is first placed in the warm water he feels okay. As the pot is placed on the stove and begins to warm up, the frog starts to like the warm bath until suddenly he is Cooked!”

Scott’s story holds true for me when I give tenants and inch only to find out a year later it is now a mile. My frog gets boiled more often than I like to admit. You see the blatant, arms length, one time attacks we are taught to look out for. It is the subtle, long term cooking that gets us.

If you ever hear yourself saying things like, “I will wait one more week and see if they pay me something because something is better than what they have been paying,” your frog has just been cooked.