Be careful who you invest with

125 Replies

@Christine L. @Matt R. @JD Martin

Matt this is a typical cash partner credit partner middle man deal.

Christine in all liklyhood has a unsecured note from Wendal  that ties to this property not a vested interest in the property just a note.. there is no security instrument

the credit partner is the owner of the propery solely.. with a deal with Wendal as well.

Wendal is middle man and the promoter making a fee for putting the parties together.

what Christine needs to do is pull tax records and find out who the owner is .. present them with her Note and just cut Wendal out of this deal and if they are only in it 170ish  and its worth 200k it should just about break even or a little loss

Christine  your experience with lease to own is common.. even though promoters like to talk about how there are no repairs the lessor will pay.. lessors are Lessors are lessors they still look at it many times like they are renting.. and just expect owner to pay.. so the owner ends up paying rather than evicting.. its no easy chore to evict in that area.

I suspect there are others in the same situation as these two ladies.. when someone with high profile like this guy gets going and is running boot camps etc you can expect many others who have invested with him.. would be nice if anyone has had a good experience could chime in..

Matt  as a side bar there was a few guys doing this In Oregon pretty heavy both end up in Prison.  As credit investors lost their credit and cash investors lost their cash.   most of it done pre dodd frank.

After reading some of these horror stories. Being pretty local to Wendell, I reached out to the leader of the local REI club I attend about it. The facial expression he had when I said the name Wendell de Guzman was enough for me.

I got a long list of horror stories he had been told about from people that were "Scammed" by Wendell. That for that reason Wendell is never allowed to attend the local group anymore.


I am sorry this happened, but I appreciate everyone posting their stories. It is the same as being Catfished. People can make online profiles and make themselves out to be experts. It then becomes very hard to verify. We place value in those that have 1,000's of posts, but if we stop to think about it, If they are doing the deal volume they claim, how do they have the time to post 1,000s of times on here? Maybe their business is just posting to find new suckers. (PT Barnum reference).

BP is a great resource, but like every great tool, people find a way to take advantage of it. In the end, Caveat Emptor translates as "Buyer Beware".  

The initial poster said she never met Wendell in person, despite living less than an hour away. I will never ever give money to someone I have never met in person. There is something to body language, vibes, looking in a person's eyes, etc. That can never be replaced.

Before giving out money to people, go to the local clubs, but first research the clubs. Find out if they have been around longer than say a decade. That way they have stood the test of time, and can share the experience of the years... not the ones that just popped up. I find the more recently started groups tend to be run by people no longer allowed at the well established ones, or are only there to self promote. 

GO to  the clubs that have been around for at least a decade and start asking about a history of the people you are about to invest with. Listen to the full details of the answers. Then ask questions (you know like a detective) where you basically ask the same question, just phrased a different way.  Those that are not honest always screw this up.  I invested with a few people now that others said were "terrible etc" but I went with my gut and it was great. Had I listened to the scammers I would be broke now most likely.

Don't give up on Real Estate. Just learn from this experience and apply the lessons learned to future deals.

The Promissory Note has a section that states:

4. Profit Share on Property:  The $40,000 above mentioned amount shall be invested in a property known as 2409 Ruth Fitzgerald, Plainfieled, IL.  The Lender shall be paid by the borrower a profit share of 25% if such profit share is higher than the 12% p.a. interest.

PA = Per Annum. So does the note state it is 12% annualized interest? So you are at least owed that? you can file legal recourse, but my guess is that Trace (Wendell's real name when he was busy scamming people in 2010) will just file Bankruptcy and take on another new persona.  

What it says, from my take on it, is that if the profit is only 10%, then you get just the 12% interest. If it is greater, then you get 25% of that profit.

But without seeing the entire thing, I can't comment.

Originally posted by @Patrick Fraire :

Thank you so much for sharing. I just joined bigger pockets after following the podcast for a few months now. I would think anyone that has been on one of the shows would be a trusted investor. Hell maybe I would've even trusted him with my life. This story was definitely a wake up call for me. Not everyone has good intentions. And I'm realizing I'm more vulnerable than others since I am a newbie. Thanks Sylvia Pomazak

 That would be a fatal flaw! DO NOT ASSUME THAT SOMEONE YOU HAVE HEARD ON A 'TRUSTED' SITE LIKE BP, REI, FASTLANE, MOTLEY, ETC IS GENUINE AND NOT A FRAUD!!! A PRIMARY VEHICLE OF FRAUD IS USING HIGH-PROFILE SITES, NAMES, ETC TO CREATE A SENSE OF LEGITIMACY. DO YOUR OWN DUE DILIGENCE!!!!!

Yes, this was done in all caps and bold on purpose. It needs to be seared into the heads of everyone. Don't assume that because you heard someone on a podcast here that they are legitimate. BP is a good site, but assuming that the podcasters have done a financial vetting of all of their guests is ridiculous. Ever heard the saying "Trust but verify"? It's said for a reason. No one is going to have your best interests at heart more than you will for yourself. It's OK to try to go with what you 'think' you know, but if you don't do your due diligence and reviewing and verifying everything, don't be surprised when you get burned. 

From the county assessor's site:

SALES HISTORY RECORDER # : DEED TYPE : 2015004854 SPWD SALES DATE : SALES PRICE : 4/1/2015 $138,600.00 Buyer: Daniel Huang Seller: US Department of HUD RECORDER # : DEED TYPE : 2014098051 Sheriff's SALES DATE : SALES PRICE : 11/1/2013 $239,888.00 Buyer: The Secretary of HUD Seller: Sheriff of Will County

So Daniel Huang/buyer might be the credit partner?  Wonder if he's on BP.

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :

@Christine L. @Matt R.@JD Martin

Matt this is a typical cash partner credit partner middle man deal.

Christine in all liklyhood has a unsecured note from Wendal  that ties to this property not a vested interest in the property just a note.. there is no security instrument

the credit partner is the owner of the propery solely.. with a deal with Wendal as well.

Wendal is middle man and the promoter making a fee for putting the parties together.

what Christine needs to do is pull tax records and find out who the owner is .. present them with her Note and just cut Wendal out of this deal and if they are only in it 170ish  and its worth 200k it should just about break even or a little loss

Christine  your experience with lease to own is common.. even though promoters like to talk about how there are no repairs the lessor will pay.. lessors are Lessors are lessors they still look at it many times like they are renting.. and just expect owner to pay.. so the owner ends up paying rather than evicting.. its no easy chore to evict in that area.

I suspect there are others in the same situation as these two ladies.. when someone with high profile like this guy gets going and is running boot camps etc you can expect many others who have invested with him.. would be nice if anyone has had a good experience could chime in..

Matt  as a side bar there was a few guys doing this In Oregon pretty heavy both end up in Prison.  As credit investors lost their credit and cash investors lost their cash.   most of it donee dodd frank.

 Cool, I assumed that credit partner normally includes the cash part but not always apparently. Thx. 

@JD Martin   EXACTLY   BP podcast or any podcast in my mind is for entertainment value..

but there is no question that many who do it have their business's impacted in a very positive way.

and there is an irrational thought process that since they are either BP members or did a pod cast they get a pass and they are all pure. 

@Dale Stevens   I agree with the amount of post = character, knowledge , ability.. there are many on this site that simply run up their post numbers by welcoming new members with cut and past you can see that in the huge post numbers but very small amount of votes..

I personally have never been much about the REI clubs I have been guest speaker at many here on the West coast LA SF PDX... and I find them to be full of a lot of very nice people.. you have your folks that run it and are experienced and then you have all your beginners.. its quite a give back to be a regular at those events.. I went to one that brie Schmidt holds in Chicago ( not to speak) and I really liked her group.. some very sharp people in that group.. it was small buy more of a mastermind I guess. RAREBIRD in PDX in my mind is head and shoulders above the REIA one here.. two guys that run it are super sharp and very nice...

but I agree with you for beginners that is a good place to start and but just like what your saying just because someone goes to those groups or runs one does not give them a pass.. there are many in the REIA business that make all sorts of side deals with promoters etc.. and I guess I am guilty about posting to much LOL... but I work from home.. and most of my business is east coast so I am up at 6am with my escrow screen on the left and my bp on the right.. print scan and sign escrow docs then turn right and answer a few posts.. or with all the time I am in hotels it gives me something to do other than hanging out in the bar and drinking to much :)

@Matt R.   Nope credit is credit cash partner.. is separate this is one of the major techniques being taught today at the fix and flip guru seminars.. its how they make the claim   ( make but bucks with none of your own money)

credit partner   equity partner and you as the deal maker.. you just made money with none of your own.

I circle back to the personal name change thing mid business career. Definite possible red flag. Although, I did hear Jay is changing his name to Gran de Dinero. 

I was going to be known as Dale, but then became the Investor formerly known as Dale. But that was too long, so I just went with "The Investor". But that was still to much to type, so I just went with changing my name to an emoji of a HOUSE. So now I am just called The Symbol. ha ha.

I still stick with I went to this club because it has been ongoing for decades, and I spoke to those that have obviously been around a while.  (You know Jay, when we drive every day, the roads are full of all types of drivers but we drive them anyway, not a waste of time). The guy running the group gave me all the background I needed on "Trace".  Then from there, the asking of questions in multiple ways, see if the answers are the same, then pull up that information later to verify.

I once attended a presentation at what I have been informed is the longest running club in Chicago. The guy presenting was extremely full of himself. But his presentation was full of spelling errors. He claimed that either he or his company were never sued or had any legal issues.


Well the meeting was at a local college that had wireless. I used my laptop, and found over 20 cases in under 5 minutes in which he personally was named as defendant as well as a few he was found guilty of.

This made me laugh at the suckers that paid him. But moreso, made me stop attending the group. Because if they would have taken the 5 minutes to verify their presenter.... Or if they did and still chose to have him present, then they don't care about those that attend, but rather just lining their pockets with the commission split they receive from the gurus that sell their crap.

I am now having fun with this. I just searched Wendell. And my, his photo on here, is dated, let alone the one of his profile pic on Linked-IN. I am sure those that have met him, will say his is an older middle aged gentleman that has greying hair. But, why not put a high school looking person on your Linked-In profile? Ok maybe college??

https://www.linkedin.com/in/wendell-de-guzman-994885118/

But look at the "Grandfatherly" looking man on his photo for his YouTube Channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCW949Vlxfeyi2oznjrHTLIw

Or do you believe the younger looking family photo used as his picture here on BP?

https://www.biggerpockets.com/users/mister4closure

Originally posted by @Sylvia Pomazak :

Hello BP members in Cincinnati or those investing here. Please be careful of who you invest with. I had the unfortunate experience of investing with someone here and it ended up being a scam. 

True Story of How my First Real Estate Investment was a Scam

10 Steps to follow to Avoid Getting Scammed in Real Estate 

 I'm so sorry for your lost and all the emotional torture from this scam! And thank you for sharing your experience with us!!! After this incident, I believe that any other deals you do in the future will be a real one and a better one and will recover the lost! 

From the county assessor's site:

SALES HISTORY RECORDER # : DEED TYPE : 2015004854 SPWD SALES DATE : SALES PRICE : 4/1/2015 $138,600.00 Buyer: Daniel Huang Seller: US Department of HUD RECORDER # : DEED TYPE : 2014098051 Sheriff's SALES DATE : SALES PRICE : 11/1/2013 $239,888.00 Buyer: The Secretary of HUD Seller: Sheriff of Will County

So Daniel Huang/buyer might be the credit partner?  Wonder if he's on BP.

Property Description

2409 Ruth Fitzgerald Dr is a property located in Plainfield, IL. It has approximately 1,792 Sq Ft. 2409 Ruth Fitzgerald Dr. is owned by HUANG,DANIEL. It was last recorded in 2015, where the sales price was $138,600.

A history of mortgage records including lenders, values and other important details

Activity for this Property (2002 - 2015) 05/28/2015 - Ownership change from Hud Housing Of Urban Dev to Huang, Daniel

The following loan was given to Huang, Daniel in Will County, IL.

  • Lender:
  • Amount: $110,879
  • Type of Loan: Unknown
  • A list of historical deeds, with the most recent listed first.
  • Looks like there's only the credit partners name on the deed"
    Deed Data 2002 - 2015 A list of historical deeds, with the most recent listed first.
    DEED 05/28/2015
    BUYER NAME
    HUANG,DANIEL
    SELLER NAME
    HUD-HOUSING OF URBAN DEV
    PRIMARY LENDER NAME
    N/A
    LOAN AMOUNT
    $110,879
    PRIMARY LENDER TYPE
    N/A
    COUNTY
    WILL
    STATE
    IL
    DATE RECORDED
    05/28/2015
    DOCUMENT NUMBER
    0000044187
    BOOK NUMBER
    N/A
    PAGE NUMBER
    N/A

County records shows one owner -the credit partner Daniel H. An employee of PCI (Elpedio) contacted me n said after they learned of Sylvias fate they looked at the books and realized they were scammed by Wendell too and have retained an attorney to go after him. The whole PCI was dismantled but he and another person David are left to sort things out. He assured me they are working with JV partners to make them whole n will act on our suggestions. He said the credit partner Daniel wants to sell. I emphasised i want to sell as well and he agreed thats what they will end up doing. So i will have to follow up w him weekly unil i see the house listed.

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