The neighbor of a Florida man invoking an obscure real estate law to stake a claim to an empty $2.5 million mansion said he believes that the man is a pawn in a attempt to cash in on the empty property.
Andre "Loki" Barbosa has lived in the five-bedroom Boca Raton, Fla., waterside property since July, and police have reportedly been unable to remove him. The Brazilian national, 23, who reportedly refers to himself as "Loki Boy," cites Florida's "adverse possession" law in which a party may acquire title from another by openly occupying their land and paying real property tax for at least seven years.
The house is listed as being owned by Bank of America as of July 2012, and that an adverse possession was filed in July.
After Bank of America foreclosed on the property last year, the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser's Office was notified that Barbosa would be moving in, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
The Sun-Sentinel reported that he posted a notice in the front window of the house naming him as a "living beneficiary to the Divine Estate being superior of commerce and usury."
On Facebook, a man named Andre Barbosa calls the property "Templo de Kamisamar."
A neighbor of the Boca property, who asked not be named, told ABCNews.com that he entered the empty home just before Christmas to find four people inside, one of who said the group is establishing an embassy for their mission, and that families would be moving in and out of the property. Barbosa was also among them.
Police were called Dec. 26 to the home but did not remove Barbosa, according to the Sentinel. Barbosa reportedly presented authorities with the adverse possession paperwork at the time.
The neighbor said he believes that Barbosa is a"patsy."
"This young guy is caught up in this thing," the neighbor said. "I think it's going on on a bigger scale."
Bank of America responded to ABCNews.com, saying that it is in communication with the Boca Raton police department regarding concerns at the house.
"There is a certain legal process we are required by law to follow and we have filed the appropriate action. The bank is taking this situation seriously and we will work diligently to resolve this matter," the bank said in a statement.
Barbosa could not be reached for comment.
The Florida Department of revenue even posts the form to establish adverse possession on its website, but it is not the equivalent of a lease.
The neighbor says that although the lights have been turned on at the house, the water has not, adding that this makes it clear it is not a permanent residence. The neighbor also says that the form posted in the window is "total gibberish," which indicated that the house is an embassy, and that those who enter must present two forms of identification, and respect the rights of its indigenous people.
"I think it's a group of people that see an opportunity to get some money from the bank," the neighbor said. "If they're going to hold the house ransom, then the bank is going to have to go through an eviction process.
"They're taking advantage of banks, where the right hand doesn't know where the left hand is. They can't clap."