THE FALSE REAL ESTATE AUCTION AGENT

Posted on Posted in Investigations
June 7, 2016
By Private Detective Fernando Alvarez
DIARIO LAS AMERICAS
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Although I have already investigated and provided evidence in countless cases of scams and I have managed to prevent many frauds, I am still impressed by the level of devious and disrespect of many scammers. They do not care about anything; they do not even seem to be afraid of jail. Some of them conduct their frauds in broad daylight and leave their personal information at every step.
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By reference of an old client I was contacted by a couple from another state with the following case: “For some years now we have wanted to sell the property we have in another city, whose current value is very high and then buy several commercial and residential properties in this city to be able to rent them out and dedicate us full time to the real estate business. Four months ago we visited a property for sale at a very good price, although we were not interested in buying it, the owners put us in touch with a court appointed real estate auction agent, who processed the sale of property foreclosed by the court with very good prices. We immediately contacted the agent and agreed to an appointment that same day at one of the properties. Benjamin (name changed) was dressed in uniform, judicial plaque on his belt and identification of the judicial system. That day we visited 3 properties, two apartments and a house. The process, he explained, was simple, the properties were repossessed and their titles transferred to a lawyer authorized by the court, we should make a payment of $20,000 for each property and continue the mortgage payments. To close the deal, Benjamin and the lawyer presented us with the properties’ documents confirming that these properties were under the name of the lawyer. Because the properties were repossessed for lack of payments, the court only allowed payment in cash or by bank transfer. We sign the required contract in the lawyer’s office and the following week we proceeded with the transfer of $60,000 to the account of Agent Benjamin. We have been waiting for a month and a half to receive the transfer document so that we can take possession of the properties and start with the needed renovations, but Benjamin is still postponing us. Although at first everything seemed very correct, now we have begun to suspect that things are not as we believed. We need you to help us clarify this situation.”
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Making a deal signed by a lawyer and a judicial agent, both authorized by the court, does not sound like fraud, but I do not think it is right that my clients had to make a transfer to the personal account of the judicial agent. We must investigate this, I responded to my desperate clients.
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Although I thought that in a few days we would clarify the situation and give good news to my clients to stop worrying, all I could do was uncover a Pandora’s Box. Benjamin was not a judicial agent of the court, but a convicted felon who had paid time for imprisonment for various crimes of fraud including charges for “criminal organization to commit fraud”, “Falsification of signatures of legal documents”, “false presentation as a judicial agent” and several civil claims for debts. The alleged lawyer was just another fraudster who had been committing misdemeanors for some years, some of them with Benjamin. Apart from Benjamin and the false lawyer, we identified three other individuals who were part of this new “criminal organization to commit fraud” led by Benjamin. The fraud process was simple, Benjamin and companion identified properties whose owners did not occupy and / or were failing their mortgage payments, then began a process called “Quitclaim Deed”, in which they falsified the signatures of the legitimate owners to generate a transfer in the name of the alleged lawyer. In many of these frauds the real owners never learned of this deceptive process until very late. Once with the new property documents in their hands, they gained access to the property and sought bargain buyers, almost always “novice investors” who were asked for an attractive figure and occasionally proceeded to perform another “Quitclaim Deed” in favor of the new buyers. When the real owners were informed, they opened court cases against Benjamin and his false lawyer and the new buyers were left without property and without money. By that time Benjamin and company had withdrawn the money and had vanished. This type of fraud affected two victims, real owners and bargain shoppers. The disrespect of these criminals was so big that they did not mind being identify; even knowing that these types of crimes are paid with jail time.
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For your own safety always check the licenses of the alleged professionals. Distrust everyone until proven otherwise. If you are going to make a deal with a company or with the courts, be sure to pay that entity and not the personal account of an employee. Do not believe that you are immune to fraud; because fraudsters know very well how to sell bait and switch.
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Beware of fraud, but if you need help, call us at 866-224-1245 or visit us at www.drakonx.com
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Drakonx Investigations offers Private Investigator and Detective Services in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Fernando, Santa Ana, Long Beach, Van Nuys, Torrance, Pomona, San Gabriel, Whittier, Orange, Costa Mesa, Huntington Park, Huntington Beach, Culver City, North Hollywood, Burbank, Thousand Oaks, Tustin, El Monte, West Covina, San Dimas, Riverside, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Corona, Fullerton, Miami, Hialeah, Miami Lakes, Aventura, Miami Beach, Homestead, Kendall, Coral Gables, Doral, Miami Springs, Miami Gardens, North Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Hollywood, Miramar, Cutler Bay, Hialeah Gardens, The Hammocks, Sunny Isle, Bal Harbour, Cuba, Havana, Matanzas, Varadero, Camaguey, Santa Clara, Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, Pinar del Rio, Sancti Spiritus, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Ciego de Avila, Isla de la Juventud, Guantanamo, Bayamo, Granma.