Real Estate Agent Steals $3 million and Keeps Her Real Estate License

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crime.jpgLast week we talked about the emergence of the selfless real estate agent. Today, we’re going to look at a piece of dirt who makes the rest of the agents out there look bad.

A real estate broker in Shakopee, Minnesota was charged with with 15 felony counts of identity theft; in addition, she filed $3 million in fake loans.

According to Freeman, “in one case, she promised to buy a piece of investment property for someone, said ‘Don’t worry. I’ll pay the mortgage and pay the rents and give you your share.’ She collected the rents, didn’t pay the mortgage and didn’t give the person any money.”

This is yet another warning to everyone to be careful out there. There are so many dubious people out there just looking to scam you, that you really need to protect yourselves. With that in mind, anyone considering investing in real estate has got to be sure that they have a real estate attorney handy.

While your lawyer can’t do too much to stop someone from stealing your identity, they can be sure that the deal you’re considering is legit, and serve to protect you by reviewing all of your paperwork. They are your first line of defense!

The part of this whole story that is most astonishing is, because this is what some call a “white collar crime,” she has not been taken into custody. She also still has her real estate license and won’t lose it unless she is convicted.

Looks like another failure of government to step up and do something. Here’s an idea . . . lets temporarily suspend her license . . . no, that would just take too much paperwork . . . we’ll just let her keep serving in a position where she can steal more money and identities.

I’m not sure who I’m more appalled at, the thief, or the authorities who fail to stop her from doing it again.

About Author

Joshua Dorkin

Joshua Dorkin (@jrdorkin, Google+) founded BiggerPockets.com when he saw a need for free, trustworthy information about real estate investing online. Over the past 12 years, Josh has grown the site from self-funded hobby to full-time job and passion. Today, BiggerPockets brings together over 600,000 members, housing the world’s largest library of real estate content, iTunes’ #1 real estate podcast, and an array of analysis tools, all geared toward helping users succeed.

16 Comments

  1. Dale Netherton on

    Has anyone experienced this one? A real estate agent without a license in the state puts down a large down payment on a piece of property, defaults on the remainder, tries to sell via hidden assignment to another person ( without paying for the property) and then sues the original seller for breach of contract when he finally comes up with enough money for a down payment on a loan. As they say in Outdoor Life, ” This happened to Me”.

  2. The real estate agent deserves everything coming to her… but with due process. (This is still America, right?)

    But also the scammed probably is a little to blame? I mean, the old adage “if something sounds too good to be true…”, and all.

    Here in KC we had a suburbanite buy 23 (or so) urban houses and found out 8 months later he had overpaid by about double and that the appraisals had been bad and that no one is now paying rent and the true rent values are about half what was disclosed…. Where was this urban area? 14 miles from the buyer’s house!!!! If he had used a competent real estate agent to represent him and HAD BOTHERED TO GO TO THE PROPERTIES TO INSPECT THEM (which he admitted to never doing) then he wouldn’t have gotten taken. Do you think greed played a part?

  3. Josh,

    I agree w/ you. These are the people who keep making all investors look bad. The biggest problem is state/local governments keeps trying to pass laws to make investing more difficult instead of going after all the bad eggs. i.e. House Bill 4050 in IL.

    I think this realtor should be banned from the profession, charged on all counts, and sent to a real prison.

  4. Real Estate you are right on about creating a big gap between customers and “Real” estate agents. I am kicking the idea around of buying a new home. I contacted a Realtor and asked him how the market was. Long story short I told the Realtor I was going to talk to a builder first, He then told me to tell the builder he is representing me. LOL not sure what this guy was thinking I guess if I could make a easy $12,000 commission I would do the same. I never met the guy in person just one phone call.

  5. Joshua,

    No I am not saying the scammed are to blame. I am saying that buyers have a responsibility to do their own due diligence to avoid being scammed. Listen, if you cannot take time out of your life to drive by homes 14 miles away…so be it. But don’t complain too much when you don’t know what is going on.

    I am NOT on the side of the inept or crooked. Let me make that clear. But if I buy a car without checking it out…buyer beware. If I invest in stocks made available over the email to me everyday…then buyer beware. If my cousin calls me one more time with a good investment and I throw some cash at it without checking it out on my own…then buyer beware. That is all I’m saying.

    Sadly, we cannot depend on the honesty and integrity of anyone out there. We do need to see for ourselves. (And the incident I was speaking of was an isolated occurance…to the best of my knowledge.)

  6. The problem is that most investors don’t realize that RE investing is anything but passive. It’s a potentially risky venture – very different from buying est. corporation’s stock. You have to look @ every aspect of the transaction, and do your due diligence. Otherwise, you’re going to get screwed one way or another.

  7. WOW!!!!!! I cant believe this lady. This is the type of person that gives the rest of us agents a bad name. There are plenty of us that try very hard on improving the publics outlook on our profession. This kind of thing takes us 10 steps back. Its a real shame.

  8. The scammed to blame? Uhm. Just maybe the victim wasn’t greedy and believed the realtor was offering a deal. Many people have done well in real estate. After all what’s the lure for most people. Most people are looking for the right place and the right time. Is this what the realto offered or purported to offer? In this case looks like the realtor was a juicy shark.

  9. For the thousands of honest Realtors, there are hundreds of dishonest. It’s sad. I witnessed a Realtor lie to her client informing them that the home they wanted was sold so they would choose the home builder that was offering her a big bonus. The buyers missed out on their dream home because she was greedy. Yes I turned her in and proud of it. They make us all look bad… like one of those ambulance chasing attorneys.

  10. Couldn’t agree more. Real estate brokers and lawyers may sound like unnecessary expenses, but I cannot emphasize enough how much you will be glad you have one intimately aware of your portfolio if you run into trouble. It’s just the same as an insurance policy.

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