The Lord of Squat: Mark Guerette Got Busted for Putting Families in Foreclosed Homes

Terry Smith gunned his late-model Chevy down the Ronald Reagan Turnpike toward a house that wasn't his, racing to move his family and all his possessions.

Minutes earlier, he had been driving a tractor-trailer in Fort Pierce when he noticed four missed calls on his cell phone from his son Tavares. Terry pulled over and called back.

"What's going on, son?" he asked on the phone.

"Dad, they're kicking us out of the house," said 19-year-old Tavares.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean they're throwing us out, right now." Tavares handed the phone to a sheriff's deputy, who confirmed the news from the doorstep of their home in North Lauderdale.

Terry maneuvered a U-turn and headed back to the office. It was late morning on January 12, and a chilly wind blew down the coast. "I have to go," he told his boss.

Meanwhile, Terry's wife, Melesia Dubose, had been doing volunteer nursing work at Primenet Medical Center, where she used to work. At about 11:45, a deputy told her over the phone that her family's eviction was to begin at noon. She drove home wearing her patterned scrubs and met her father, who had been on his way to a radiation appointment to treat his throat cancer. In a faltering voice, he begged the sheriff's deputy to let the family have a few more hours to move out. The deputy agreed, and said she'd be back at 7 p.m.

Melesia explained to anyone who would listen that she and Terry didn't think the eviction letters were meant for them, because they bore the names of the previous owner. But the time for clarifications had passed. By 1:30, their 21-year-old son Jerome had rented an extra-large U-Haul truck and pulled it up on the lawn. Melesia had imagined this day, this nightmare scene. She watched her full-grown son haul a mattress just slightly larger than himself up a ramp, into the truck. The family had been through this before, been told to leave their previous home by another deputy with another piece of paper in his hands. This time was supposed to be different.

While the boys moved the furniture out the front door, all she could do was wait and think of her children: her two younger girls, ages 12 and 10, still in their school uniforms; the boys who were dismantling the house in a hurry; her 24-year-old daughter Martina who kept her company doing volunteer work at the hospital. Jerome's 3-year-old daughter, Samairah, serenely pushed a toy stroller across the doorstep. How could she explain this to the children?

"There are good people and bad people," she told them that afternoon. "Unfortunately, when we paid money to move into this house, we gave it to a bad person."

By 2 p.m., the living room was nearly bare. A couple of pieces of fabric hung over the wall where the TV cabinet used to be. Scraps of packing material and splinters of furniture covered the floor. Inside the garage, Melesia's son Tavares pulled an electric drill down from a high shelf still cluttered with belongings.

He blamed all of this on a man named Mark Guerette.

Throughout his troubled life, Mark sold drugs and rip-off Corningware and mortgages and credit scores, and finally the fantastical notion that empty houses shouldn't be empty as long as there are people who need them. With a firm handshake, a pious demeanor, and an official-looking lease, Mark had offered Terry Smith a chance to make a home for his family. But in the course of a few months, Mark's plan had gone terribly wrong.

"He's a crook," said Tavares. "And I hope I can tell him that to his face."


Like most salesmen, Mark Guerette has a story. The story he told about his long and varied career was a story about finding God, in which Mark censored the curse words he said as a teenager and broke into blue-collar grammar only when recalling the most difficult parts of his past. Now 47, with a pale, youthful face and short brown hair, he spoke with a constant hint of a smile, like a schoolboy who's done something bad and wants to be caught.

"I tried taking my life for the first time at the age of 16," he said, "because I just couldn't take my parents anymore." In fact, they weren't really his parents at all, just some people who made him miserable. He said these people abused him, screamed at him, and put duct tape all around his shoes when any other kid in Nashua, New Hampshire, would have gotten a new pair.

After renouncing his adoptive parents' care as well as their religion, Mark got a job as a prep cook at the Chart House in Nashua and discovered the healing trifecta of LSD, pot, and alcohol. His drug habits would follow him well into his 30s — until he decided to give them up for God.

As an adult, Mark was prone to less conventional ways of making money: first dealing drugs in Massachusetts in his 20s, then, going door-to-door selling 30-piece sets of glass cookware when his girlfriend, Angie, ended up pregnant with their first daughter in 1990. After the cookware company "made some bad investments," he and Angie packed up a U-Haul van and drove to Florida. Ending up in Hollywood, he took a string of odd jobs and spent every night drinking a case of beers and fishing on a catwalk over the Intracoastal.

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17 comments
SHINDIG
SHINDIG

MARK SAID THAT HE HAD TO MAKE A LIVING AND IF IT HURT ANYONE " I REALLY DO NOT CARE" U CALL THAT ' A LIVING"????? HE SITS IN A FORECLOSED HOME,HAS A CONDO AND YES SIRRY BOB" HE  DRIVES AROUND IN A HUMMER LOOKING FOR MORE VICTIMS!!!! ONLY IN FLORIDA!!!!! HE SHOULD BE HANG BY HIS BALLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SHINDIG
SHINDIG

JUST WHO DOES MARK THINK HE IS,GOD??????????????????????? HE SHOULD BE IN A DARK,COLD CELL,TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SHINDIG
SHINDIG

HE STANDS PROUDLY,HANDS ON HIPS ,DARK SUNGLASSES,READY TO PRAY ON INNOCENT PEOPLE,JUST LIKE HIS SISTER OR  SHOULD I SAY :SWINDLER" HE SHOULD BE IN JAIL,WHO DID HE PAY OFF??????????????????????????????????

SHINDIG
SHINDIG

MARK IS A THIEF,LIAR,SWINDLER AND GOES TO CHURCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

Steve Dibert
Steve Dibert

If anyone gets a sales pitch where the salesman talks about finding God after doing drugs or alcohol for decades, run, run fast and far. Most of the clients I get who are victims of foreclosure ripoff schemes tell me they get the same pitch.

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Sam
Sam

Sadly, there is enough blame to go around, the banks, the developers, the complicit planning boards, the home owners, the mortgage companies, the squatters. All play their part.

EndAdversePossession
EndAdversePossession

Adverse possession needs to be abolished. It is an outdated, arcane, unnecessary and unjust law that needs to end. People like Mark Guerette pervert it as an effort to take something for nothing. This is why it is called "legalized land theft." Legislators should be ashamed for not doing anything about this horrible law.

Chsnttb
Chsnttb

Guerette made $30,000 a month working for some shady mortgage company before the bust... he should be investigated for mortgage fraud, which is more offensive than his more recent activities.

guest
guest

How typical.... the family lives rent free for 6 months and is offered thousands to move out and they are still complaining that they have nowhere to go....

SHINDIG
SHINDIG

U MUST BE HIS PAL,DICKHEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SHINDIG
SHINDIG

MARK IS STILL AT IT AND SO AIN'T THE SWINDLER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHO IS BIG ENUOGH TO STOP HIM,CERTAINLY, NOT THE COPS,AFTER ALL,THEY PROTECT SCUMBAGS LIKE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tostupid
Tostupid

Before you throw stones maybe you should find out the truth. This story is incorrectly written and leaves out many pertinent facts. Mr. Guerette help the Smiths out with a place to live after Mr. Smith keep getting turned down due to his poor credit and his criminal record of drug dealing. If what Mr. Guerette was doing was so criminally wrong, why did Mr. Smith stay living on the property, why didn't he pack up and leave. Mr. Smith and his family were warned that a day would come when they would have to move. So they decided to stay anyways for over 12 months which they aid no rent to any body. He claims he spent 10 grand on living there which is odd due to the fact that he sided with the state to accuse Mr. Guerette of wrong doing then he stays in the house and spends 10 grand to fix it? Mr. Smith show the receipts...What did you do with all the money you saved by living rent free off the back of Mr. Guerette?

SHINDIG
SHINDIG

THIS MUST BE MARK TALKING ABOUT HIMSELF,IF NOT,IT MUST BE HIS SWINDLER SISTER OR HIS WIFE,MARLENE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SHINDIG
SHINDIG

007 U AIN'T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SHINDIG
SHINDIG

FUCKING LIAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 
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