Swampland in Florida

Swampland in Florida refers to decades-old but still recurring real estate scams involving swamp lands misrepresented as being possible to develop, or "buildable". These scams became widely known and now also have meaning as a common figure of speech.

Expressions like "I have swampland in Florida to sell you" or "I have prime swampland to sell you" are slang expressions that the recipient shows . It says figuratively that someone lacks sense like one who would fall for an old deception or fraud of paying large amounts of money for a worthless item such as swampland. These phrases are often preceded by or imply, "If you believe that then..." Sometimes other swampy locations besides Florida are used in the term.

Origin of the term

Similar terms came from the early 1900's where con-men would sell landmarks to which no one owns the title such as the Brooklyn Bridge to newly-arrived immigrants in the United States. The phrase about gullibility referring to those events said, "if you believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you." Those evolved in the 1960's and 1970's to include fraudulent sales of worthless swampland real estate in Florida. [cite web
title = "...swampland in Florida to sell you"
publisher = phrases.org.uk
date = February 20, 2005
url = http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/39/messages/665.html
accessdate = 2008-02-02
]

Though the term originates in the United States, searching the Internet indicates it is now also understood and used in other English-speaking countries.

Actual value of swampland

The common usage of this term implies that swampland is worthless. Without development or some ability to develop it, it isn't valuable for real estate purposes. There have been cases that swampland was purchased and turned into very valuable property, notably for the creation of Walt Disney World Resort and also to some extent including many developed lands in Florida. On the other hand, there are also arguments made for the value of scenery and wildlife found in swamplands in their natural condition. Sometimes that is done by businesses to meet a development permit requirement to preserve some Florida land in order to build on other Florida land. [cite web
title = "Anyone got some swampland for sale?"
url = http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/stories/1999/04/05/newscolumn2.html
publisher = South Florida Business Journal
date = 1999-04-02
accessdate = 2008-09-16
]

Swampland scams

In the 1960's and 1970's, scammers used nationwide advertising to lure victims to buy Florida real estate without visiting the properties first. The new owners came to find their land was under water in a swamp or in some other way impossible to build upon. As the scam became widely known, California and New York legislators acted in 1963 to restrict this form of false advertising. Florida also enacted the Installment Land Sales Act that year in an effort to restore its reputation. [cite web
title = Watch out for swamp land sales on the Net
url=http://www.sun-herald.com/NewsArchive2/061805/bz3.htm?date=061805&story=bz3.htm
publisher = Charlotte (Florida) Sun
date = June 18, 2005
accessdate = 2008-02-04
]

Swampland scams still occur in Florida. The Internet has brought about a resurgence via online auctions of Florida real estate. Scammers circumvent commercial registration requirements by making one-on-one sales. Over great distances some buyers can be convinced to pay before verifying claims. It usually involves unbuildable swampland misrepresented as if it was buildable in order to fraudulently inflate the sale price. [cite web
title = "Brooklyn bridge buyers, beware"
publisher = USA Today
date = September 1, 2006
url = http://blogs.usatoday.com/ondeadline/2006/09/brooklyn_bridge.html
accessdate = 2008-02-02
] [cite web
title = Swampland sales back in style
url = http://www.news-journalonline.com/special/resellingswampland/swampland.htm
publisher = Daytona Beach News-Journal
date = January 9, 2005
accessdate = 2008-02-04
] [cite web
title = Daisy chain of profits: Last one in loses
url = http://tampabay.bizjournals.com/tampabay/stories/2006/05/08/story6.html
publisher = Tampa Bay Business Journal
date = May 8, 2006
accessdate = 2008-02-04
]

See also

* Big Cypress National Preserve
* Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
* Everglades
* Florida land boom of the 1920s
* Highlands Hammock State Park
* Picayune Strand State Forest
* Santa Fe Swamp

External links

* [http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=Ch0498/titl0498.htm&StatuteYear=2007&Title=-%3E2007-%3EChapter%20498 Florida Law Chapter 498: Land Sales Practices]
* [http://myfloridalegal.com/newsrel.nsf/newsreleases/4C65CC9457291A2385256E690057AC28?OpenDocument "$300,000 "Swampland" Scam Leads to Arrest"] at State of Florida Attorney General
* [http://myfloridalegal.com/newsrel.nsf/newsreleases/2E491E9F0EA73D2D8525710F0060A9C9 "Hernando Man Convicted for Selling Swamplands to Floridians"] at State of Florida Attorney General
* [http://www.miamibeach411.com/news/archives/2005/04/i_got_swampland.html "I got swampland in Florida to sell you"] at Miami Beach 411
* [http://sworlandoblog.com/2007/09/14/lake-apopka-the-new-florida-swampland-scam/ "Lake Apopka: The New Florida Swampland Scam"] at Southwest Orlando blog
* [http://www.posterestantetravel.com/CAT/TravelMag/Vol1,Issue1/Feature4 "Beyond Disney World: Florida's swamp land is something to be truly admired and explored"] at Poste Restante online travel magazine
* [http://www.floridalandscams.com/ Florida Land Scams] - land scams in Polk County, Florida

References


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