How I lost 30k in one day by getting fooled by a con artist

36 Replies

We had a commercial property listed for sale or rent at 809 Main St Hopkins, MN.

I showed it to Phillip (Blain) Bundy, he liked it and said that he wanted to purchase it on rent to own option and asked me to reduce rent from $3500/month to $2000 for the first three months, in return, he would remove some old magazines and catalogs that were in the building and some other minor junk.

He offered to me, none refundable option fee of 20k, that I accepted.

Everything was subject to conducting a due diligence and him providing his tax returns.

On the day when we had to execute the contract, he said that he had some issues with his bank ( this is what he said), but he brought me an Iphone 6 which I took from him as a down payment and said that he would bring me a set of stainless steel appliances to one of my houses, because he got new appliances on auction and he could sell them to me at discounted price (30%) which I agreed, since I had to pay 2k for appliances anyway.

I trusted him, we signed the lease in front of the notary and I gave him keys.

Two weeks later, I still have not received my option fee of 10k or rent, or appliances...

One time when he was delivering appliances the fridge tipped over the stove and bent it (this is what Phillip has told me). And I believed it... and agreed to wait until I get a new set.

Meanwhile I had to put that house on the market and 4 weeks later from all appliances that I supposed to get, I got only a dishwasher for $200 from Phillip.

During all this time Phillip was telling me that he knew owners of Menards, regional Home Depot's managers where he could get a returned merchandize at 30 cents on the dollar and he could sell me Hoedepot gift cards at 60 cents on the dollar. Which I though, was a win-win scenario for me and him, since my workers spend 20-30k per month on building materials and they might as well save money by using Home Depot's gift card that I could buy from Phillip at a discount. So, I gave him my credit card so he could charge it and pay me rent with Home Depot cards. In one week he charged 30k on my credit card and gave me Home Depot gift cards. I was very happy, because I thought I saved at least 20-30K on my future purchases of building materials.

I gave these gift cards to my workers, so they could start using them right away.

To my surprise, 3 of my workers called me the same day when I gave them the cards and said that 3 HD cards that I gave them had 22 cents, $1.20, and $0.75 cents. Of course I called Phillip (Blain) Bundy and he assured me that it was a mistake and said that funds will be back on Home Depot cards in a few days.

A week later, nothing was added to those cards. I called visa and filed a fraud claim and ''big thank you to them'' that they refunded me the whole amount.

We are approaching 1.5 month Phillip being in my building and he only paid me $200 by selling me a dishwasher and $225 by selling me an Iphone.

I told Phillip that I didn't feel right about the whole situation and I needed to get the rent from him ASAP, he agreed to meet me at the gas station and bring me cash.

First time he didn't show up, second time he came but said that his sales people didn't bring him enough cash that day to pay for rent and offered to pay me through PayPal and sent me a confirmation number that the payment has been made.

Finally I felt well, even though Paypal said that the funds would be available only in 10 business day. On 11th business day I saw the funds,

but on the 12th business days the payment was cancelled. I called Blain and he explained that there was a mistake with his Discover card and he would call Discover and funds would become available again.

To my surprise, funds did become available in a several days and I transferred them to my checking account. Phill only owed me for one month, plus option fee, 12k, so no big deal I thought, he would pay me, because he moved all his stuff in my building.

But several days later, I received a letter from Pay Pal that funds got cancelled again and my account was 2k negative.

Only after 1.5 month I realized that I was dealing with a professional cone artist.

I filed for an eviction, he didn't show up in court, we changed the locks, kept all his ''junk'' in my building for 30 days and then I hired movers who removed it for 1k.

Damage: lost rent and utilities for 3 months 8k, attorneys and eviction fees 1k, 1k to movers, (potential option fee of 20k), plus my time.

I learned a very good lesson, if a tenant or buyer can't provide you with their financials, there is something wrong. Phillip has told me that he shows loss on his tax returns for last 20 years because he had a huge business with China 20 years ago and he lost it over 1M, that's why he was writing the loss off every year and he had not to pay any taxes because of that loss:-)

Thank you very much, Phillip Bundy for this lesson!!!

By the way he is from Eau Claire, WI, about 46 years old in 2015

Wow sorry to hear that, that is some story:(

Tristan C.

    @Pavel Sakurets I'm truly glad that you got out "okay" and didn't incur a $30k loss from the credit cards. I have a few comments, don't take this as beating a "wounded" horse, you should just know some best practices in managing your finances and screening tenants. 

    1. Why on earth would you ever give anyone your credit card? This doesn't make sense to me at all. You exposed yourself to an immense amount of liability with this action - I hope you never do that again.

    2. Is this the same Phillip Bundy that owes $45k in taxes? If so, this took me literally 45 seconds to look up. A simple Google search will show you a lot about someone.

    EAU CLAIRE
    BUNDY, PHILLIP
    P & B ENTERPRISES

    2809 E HAMILTON AVE EAU CLAIRE WI 54701-1686 USA

    W,S,I

    $45,065.60

    3. Always screen your tenants with a background and credit check. If they are unable to pass either, or provide you with the information requested, move on. There will always be another tenant and it's easier to get someone in than out. 

    4. Get a financial advisor or CPA and run things by him/her. For instance, if you have a solid CPA, you can email him/her and say "hey - I'm thinking about giving my tenant my credit card for x reason, what do you think" and the resounding answer will be a heck no!

    5. Get a mentor and associate yourself with SUCCESSFUL investors so that you can run questions by them. If you and I were friends, you would have known he was scamming you before he even got the keys to the place.

    You learned a hard lesson, and I appreciate you sharing your story as there are many others on BP that will benefit from it. I have been in a similar situation, though only a couple hundred bucks was at risk, so I feel your pain. Learn from your mistakes and mitigate those risks in the future. Best of luck!

    Way too many red flags were ignored. Trust must be earned...that didn't happen in this case.  You're not the first nor will you be the last, but you will never fall for this again. Congrats on learning a valuable lesson that could have been much more expensive. 

    Guy Gimenez

    wow, wow...just wow. you deserve to get conned. and i mean that in a nice way.

    Originally posted by @Brandon Hall :

    @Pavel Sakurets I'm truly glad that you got out "okay" and didn't incur a $30k loss from the credit cards. I have a few comments, don't take this as beating a "wounded" horse, you should just know some best practices in managing your finances and screening tenants. 

    1. Why on earth would you ever give anyone your credit card? This doesn't make sense to me at all. You exposed yourself to an immense amount of liability with this action - I hope you never do that again.

    2. Is this the same Phillip Bundy that owes $45k in taxes? If so, this took me literally 45 seconds to look up. A simple Google search will show you a lot about someone.

    EAU CLAIRE
    BUNDY, PHILLIP
    P & B ENTERPRISES

    2809 E HAMILTON AVE EAU CLAIRE WI 54701-1686 USA

    W,S,I

    $45,065.60

    3. Always screen your tenants with a background and credit check. If they are unable to pass either, or provide you with the information requested, move on. There will always be another tenant and it's easier to get someone in than out. 

    4. Get a financial advisor or CPA and run things by him/her. For instance, if you have a solid CPA, you can email him/her and say "hey - I'm thinking about giving my tenant my credit card for x reason, what do you think" and the resounding answer will be a heck no!

    5. Get a mentor and associate yourself with SUCCESSFUL investors so that you can run questions by them. If you and I were friends, you would have known he was scamming you before he even got the keys to the place.

    You learned a hard lesson, and I appreciate you sharing your story as there are many others on BP that will benefit from it. I have been in a similar situation, though only a couple hundred bucks was at risk, so I feel your pain. Learn from your mistakes and mitigate those risks in the future. Best of luck!

     Thx Brandon, how did you find out that he owed taxes? I did a Google search on him but didn't find anything bad.

    The reason why I gave home my cc was because I believe him that he could get me homedeopt gift cards at 40% discount and I wanted to buy them from him.

    He told me that he bought returned merchandise from Walmart and Homedepot by truck loads and he could get homedepot cards and big discount. Yeah, I know I was stupid, but I saw the stuff that he had in my building and I believed him.

    sorry, using my phone, and there are typoes in my reply

    Originally posted by @Tristan C. :

    Wow sorry to hear that, that is some story:(

    It's a shame that there are some really bad eggs out there, I'm going through some tenants from hell situation right now, but I'm learning! You can call it an education without having to go to school. but you still have to pay sometimes.

    Sometimes hindsight is 20/20 and maybe these issues were not that apparent then when it happened but a lot more apparent in hindsight.  There seem to have had a lot of red flags along the way ... glad it wasn't worse and maybe we can all learn from it.

    Thanks for Sharing. I also am a trusting person so I can understand how this stuff can happen. I also have been conned out of money and I also am trying to use it as a lesson (expensive though it may be). I will never proceed in business venture before doing back ground checks and contracts.

    Your greed got the best of you. This falls under the "If it seems too good to be true" maxim.

    "The reason why I gave home my cc was because I believe him that he could get me homedeopt gift cards at 40% discount and I wanted to buy them from him."

    Sorry to hear that you got scammed. I live in Eau Claire and will steer clear of this guy. Whenever you are dealing with someone in Wisconsin one of the things you can do is check Ccaps which is the public records for Wisconsin courts. A quick search on this guy bring up 27 court records and he's been sued a lot.

    If you ever have another deal in the State of Wisconsin or Eau Claire, feel free to PM me, I know a good real estate attorney so you can avoid people like this in the future.

       I have had encounters with that type,I bought a few things from one who did the pallets and truck loads once,then searched around and found where I could do it  myself and cut him and any  other middle men out.

    @Pavel Sakurets

    I'm sorry, but like the others said, you deserved to be conned. You are way to trusting, especially with handing out your credit card. There was one flag after another and I'm sure he was laughing behind your back the whole time. Every lie he told, you took it as the gospel.

    I'm glad everything worked out in the end, but damn man, trust only a few and almost no one. 

    Good luck in the future. 

    Logan Hassinger

      Originally posted by @P. Martin:

      Your greed got the best of you. This falls under the "If it seems too good to be true" maxim.

      "The reason why I gave home my cc was because I believe him that he could get me homedeopt gift cards at 40% discount and I wanted to buy them from him."

      One of the first rules of running a con is that your mark has to believe they can get something for nothing.  It's why the Nigerian Prince scam worked so well for a while.  But essentially, pretty much every traditional scam you can think of starts with a greedy mark who wants discounts and freebies.

      In reading through this list, it's clear that the vast majorities of these require a greedy mark.  The rest take advantage of ignorance with the conman playing the part of a policeman, IRS agent or other in a position of authority and essentially strong arming the mark.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_confidence_tr...

      I'm sorry the OP had the experience they had.  But truly, there is no such thing as a free lunch - except maybe from your mother.  And even then, you should check for apron strings attached.

      First I thought it was a joke...kept reading and was waiting for the part where the author would say "it is a fictional story"...lol
      One can't be so naive to do such a deal, no way!!
      You're extremely lucky to tell this tale without losing a lot... The good news is that you have BP, but you have a lot of "catching up" to do!

      @Pavel Sakurets

      I am really sorry that you fell con to this man, but I'm glad you evicted sooner rather then later.

      Most Landlords start out like this, so take it as your education and you'll save yourself more money in the future. Unfortunately you can't trust people when you have to protect your money or your assets. A lien search would have definitely turned up the tax lien, I wonder what other info there is.

      Good luck in the future, and may be it smooth sailing from here on in!

      Originally posted by @Pavel Sakurets :

      We had a commercial property listed for sale or rent at 809 Main St Hopkins, MN.

      I showed it to Phillip (Blain) Bundy, he liked it and said that he wanted to purchase it on rent to own option and asked me to reduce rent from $3500/month to $2000 for the first three months, in return, he would remove some old magazines and catalogs that were in the building and some other minor junk.

      He offered to me, none refundable option fee of 20k, that I accepted.

      Everything was subject to conducting a due diligence and him providing his tax returns.

      On the day when we had to execute the contract, he said that he had some issues with his bank ( this is what he said), but he brought me an Iphone 6 which I took from him as a down payment and said that he would bring me a set of stainless steel appliances to one of my houses, because he got new appliances on auction and he could sell them to me at discounted price (30%) which I agreed, since I had to pay 2k for appliances anyway.

      I trusted him, we signed the lease in front of the notary and I gave him keys.


       Sorry to hear that you had this experience.  Thank you for sharing it, hopefully it can help others as a learning experience.  One thing is in retrospect the red flags become a lot clearer, so while the summary looks really obvious - it isn't that way at the time.  Especially since such people will combine a developing personal relationship with the business transactions.

      A really simple iron-clad policy could have prevented this situation(other than wasting some time) - "no cash no keys".

      A common thread in all scams is "if it's too good to be true, it probably is". This one is no different. @ Brandon Hall, I too did a google search and got the same results.

      Pavel, I also want to thank you for sharing. 

      It would have been very easy for you to keep this to yourself because you were too embarrassed to share the details. I know a lot of us have thought "how could you have let this get so far, didn't you see all the red flags". 

      Hopefully your story will prevent someone else making the same type of mistake after they read this.

      Fred Grant

        Dont you know never to be in business with a Bundy? Remember when Bundy borrowed 50k from steves bank for 555-shoe? Marcy had to eat the loan to save steve's job.

        What a story.  I'm glad you shared, as it's a great reminder for everyone to be vigilant.  The lesson I'm taking away is to always stick to my processes!  We create processes to protect ourselves and mitigate risk; they must be adhered to for them to do their job.

        Drey Taylor

          How exactly would someone get HD gift cards at 60 cents on the dollar? Especially at the $30,000 level?

          Even if the guy could deliver, I would suspect I was participating in some kind of crime

          That would be like someone showing up with deeply discounted bearer bonds

          DANG! That is rough, there is one plus side to growing up doing the wrong kind of things. You'd see a guy like this from a mile away. 

          Some really solid tips offered here, thanks for sharing it takes guts to expose the mistakes and not just the wins. 

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