Can anyone recommend (who has ever used) Italianlaw.com? I have been told that my family has property in Italy that was abandoned when they immigrated to the states...how can I verify if this site is legitimate or not?
I filled out a short questionnaire with Italianlaw.net to see if there had been any property abandoned in Italy by my Grandfathers family after they immigrated to the US in about 1920. I received an email telling me that they had received the info and would let me know. The next day, I received an email telling me that my Grandfathers name and birthday had been identified with 33 properties in Italy. I was, I admit, skeptical. If its too good to be true, right? Plus the email that I received the later transmission from was slightly different than the first. I wrote to the original email address to confirm that they in fact were the ones that contacted me with this latest info, and then I received a call from Anthony Alioto. Anthony told me that they have a number of emails that run through their office. I started asking him questions on the properties that he claimed he had. He confirmed my Grandfathers name and birthday, and then told me that the properties were in various areas. He also, offering the information himself, told me my Grandfathers brothers and sisters names, as well as his fathers name. This could be info, I thought, that he could have found out from Ancestry.com or from a site like ItalianGenealogy.com, so I treaded lightly. He gave me the birthdates of my Great Uncle, as well as the, not yet known, birthday of my Great Aunt. I became very interested at this point, but told him that I would like to talk with my husband before I went any further, as he told me to gain more info there would need to be a payment of $600. This cost was to give me the locations of the property, maps on where they were located, history of previous owners (with the chance of finding out more info for my tree), sale history, and help with claiming the properties, or help with **SPAM** them to area farmers or other interested buyers. It was explained that there would be more expense in having the properties properly surveyed as well as to see if anyone was squatting on them or using them for farming and such. Anthony told me that the pictures that we was seeing of the properties appeared to be full of weeds, so the chances that they were being used by others was probably not a problem. He told me of one piece of property that seemed to have a very small building on it of some kind, and this solidified some other info I had received from my Uncle on a visit to the family homestead in Italy. I was intrigued that my Grandfathers father had left his three children claim in Italy...a fact that I wasn't even sure that my Grandfather even knew since his father passed away after he left Italy following WWI. We had always thought that they were very poor, but now we learn that maybe we have this wonderful gift that could be shared among his heirs! After speaking with my husband, he told me to do as I wanted, that he would support me, but I didn't want to bare the burden emotionally by myself...so I called my brother. I told him what I had stumbled upon, but also shared my fear of it being a scam. We spoke for awhile and then he told me that he would pay half (my suggestion) to get the info. We thought that in the very least, added info for filling in gaps for our tree might be worth the expense...but we were hopeful that it was what we were being told. I contacted Anthony at ItalianLaw.net and told him that my brother and I were considering moving forward for our initial $600 to find out if this was what we thought it might be. He sent me a link to make our payment so we sent our money by PayPal and I wrote to Anthony to tell him that the money had been sent. He called me within a half hour to tell me to open an email from him with the info. I opened the info (I thought that it would take a couple of weeks, as I was anticipating copies of original documents) and downloaded it, printed it off, checked it over (it was, of course, in Italian), and then called Anthony back so that he could explain it to me. He patiently walked through all the 4 pages with me, and then I asked him "just how much land is this anyway?" He said 3 acres....total. I asked when I would be receiving the rest of the info, and he said "well, I could pull off the maps, but it would take me a while." I asked if that was going to be another expense, as he had implied, or if that in fact was included in our initial payment of $600. I was also wanting the previous owner info, etc, that I had anticipated from him (please note that I wrote out all of my expectations for our $600 in the email to Anthony before sending the money), and he told me that there was not any other info. That the records were too old and there wasn't anything on his computer info that gave him any more info. I was, I felt duped. He had told me that I would be able to gain lots of info from these records that would fill in blanks in the family history, and now he was telling me that they were too old. He knew the age and timeframe of the initial info right from the beginning, as well as what I was anticipating from our initial payment. He also told me that he doesn't have any pictures of the land, and thought maybe I had dreamed that up...really? After our conversation began to deteriorate, I realized that I was not valued as a client or customer, as he was yelling at me, which caused me to yell back in trying to make my point that I only drug my brother into this so that the two of us could present this wonderful thing to our mothers living siblings. Now I felt that this was all the info I was to receive. Finally, I told Anthony that he could call me back after he calmed down and I hung up. I went back through my email conversations with him and resent the email of the expectations of what we felt we were told we would receive. I asked him to just please treat me as a family member "If I was your sister, would you think that she got her moneys worth for what was received?" I asked him to reduce the rate by half...this, I felt, would be fair to him and although I wasn't really getting any usable info for our family, and that he was able to pull it off the computer so quickly. We came to an agreement that I would be refunded $300 minus $19 for the PayPal fee. He sent me one map, that to me was a nice gesture, but still useless, at no additional cost, and says the money will be refunded to me at the end of the month. That's now. Here's trusting... Just felt like I should tell you what my experience was so that you can make an educated decision before you move forward with ItalianLaw.net. I had tried to do research on anyone who had used them before I even continued talks with them, and really couldn't find anything...well, now there is someones story to glean from. Good luck and thank you for listening.