A James Island couple say they were defrauded by a mysterious Florida man who claimed he could reduce their daughter's mortgage under the new federal stimulus plan.

The couple told police this weekend that they received a call from a man named Michael Peed, who said he represented Statewood Home Assistance Corp. in Fort Lauderdale.

The couple told Peed that they didn't have a mortgage but their daughter was in dire need of help. Peed told the couple that their daughter could save between 1.5 to 5 percent on her mortgage under the new stimulus program, according to a police report. The couple told police that they agreed to use their credit card to pay a "retainer fee" of $397 for the company's attorneys to begin the paperwork.

Peed told the couple that an attorney with a law firm in California would call them back within 90 minutes. The couple told police that they began to feel uneasy about the company and called her credit card company to stop the transaction, but that the payment had already been accepted.

The couple then called Peed and discovered that the phone number had been disconnected, she told police.