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What is a fraudulent lien and what are the penalties for filing one?

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A fraudulent lien is a complete defense to a lien foreclosure action. A fraudulent lien arises when a lienor has: (1) willfully exaggerated the amount for which the lien is claimed; (2) included a claim for work not performed or materials not furnished; or (3) asserted a lien for work admittedly not performed, non-lienable items, or compiled a claim of lien with such willful and gross negligence as to amount to a willful exaggeration. Fla. Stat. §713.31. Fraudulent liens typically involve situations where the completion of the work is disputed. A fraudulent lien can also arise where the lien amount is based upon a disputed method of compensation, or where the lien includes amounts not authorized by contract or change orders. A minor mistake in a lien or a good faith dispute as to the amount due is not considered a willful exaggeration and will not give rise to a fraudulent lien. A fraudulent lien can also give rise to an affirmative claim for damages against the lienor. A lienor who ... more
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