My mother and stepfather bought a restaurant in Georgia around a year ago. To make a long story shorter, they took out a 6-month bridge loan that was secured by a home owned in Florida. Despite assurances (not in writing) that the loan was renewable, the bank decided to call in the note at the end of the term, and my parents were unable to come up with the funds to pay it off. They have been try to work a deal. However, (here is where the legal question comes in), apparently the bank asked my mother to file the lien with the county clerks office in Florida. When she tried, the clerk's office told her that this was the bank's responsibilty and that she didn't have everything that was needed. My parents called the bank to let them know and they told her "they'd take care of it" (also not in writing). Now, they have recently received a copy of a bench warrant charging theft by deception, apparently because the lien is not recorded. Prior to this they left the restaurant in hands of my brother and moved back to Florida becuase of my stepfathers deteriorating health.
They have talked to a lawyer in Georgia and will be going back to face the charges. Needless to say, they are flabbergasted and completely confused and didn't even know what the charges were about until we talked through them tonight. My guess is the bank was thinking about foreclosing and found the issue about the lien not being recorded.
1. Is the onus really on the person taking the loan to file the lien (I realize not really a criminal law question, but any opinion is appreciated).
2. Does this seem to fit the description of theft by deception? Maybe the existence of a bench warrant answers that.
3. Any other advice other than to do what they are doing, which is securing a lawyer, returning to Georgia and trying to make this go away?
Many thanks for any advice.