AGENT ALERT: Fraud Scenario Reported

Earlier this summer, an agent in coastal Georgia received a Zillow call from a man inquiring about homes in the $900,000 range. The agent set up a time to meet, and the man came to the meeting along with his wife and child, and they toured several properties. He called the next day and informed the agent that he would be paying cash and had tax questions about putting the property under his business name for write-off purposes if he were to rent it later. The agent referred him to his CPA.

The buyer then contacted the agent and said that he had spoken with his business partner and that they would like to see if there were any investment opportunities in the area.  The agent spoke with her broker and they set up a time for all parties to meet. The business partners arrived, and the agent and her broker took them to dinner and met with local builders and developers, showing them developments and projects that might interest them.

The agent and broker then spoke to them about structuring the deal. One of the buyers wanted the broker to put a percentage into the deal. He also spoke about bitcoin investment opportunities, financial business models, the companies and websites that he owned, and he revealed details about the agent and broker that they hadn’t divulged.

At this point, the agent and broker contacted local law enforcement to have a background check, and it revealed that both men were fugitives.  One buyer was arrested in the brokerage’s parking lot on his way into the office for a meeting.  The other buyer had an active warrant in South Carolina, but they chose not to pick him up, so he was free to go. The police also found a wallet in their possession that did not belong to them.

Additionally, the duo had gone to a dealership in Athens, presented false identification, and drove away with a truck. They apparently switched phones regularly, as they had both acquired new ones that morning of the arrest.  The one who was arrested was released that same night after claiming to have chest pains, as it seems that the county where his warrant was active did not want to assume his medical bills.

At this time, both of these men are out of jail, and could be targeting others in the real estate industry. They go by the first names of Brian and Robert, but because of the cases pending and liability issues, we cannot reveal their last names.But their descriptions are as follows:

Brian – caucasian male, mid-30’s, reddish brown hair, brown eyes
Robert – caucasian male, mid to late 50’s, grey/blonde hair, blue eyes

Please be diligent about listening to your instincts when a deal starts to feel “off.” If you have encountered a similar situation recently, please contact your local police, and share this information with them.