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A little margin

His conviction – and a sentence of 76 months in prison plus a restitution order for Fannie Mae of $ 982,516 – was upheld on appeal. A Minnesota couple at the head of a market and asset management real estate firm got off more lightly for their part in another long-standing scam.

Jeffrey Detloff was sentenced to 16 months in prison plus two years of supervised release for his part in an illegal bid and dodging bribes in connection with foreclosed properties, while his wife and business partner, Lori, has been sentenced to seven months in prison plus one year or supervised release for complicity in a crime. Their company was also ordered to pay a fine of $ 593,000 as well as restitution to the victims of Detloff.

According to court documents, the couple conspired to defraud lenders and guarantors who hired them to oversee maintenance and repairs to foreclosed homes. He was accused of running maintenance and repair contracts with companies that would donate part of their fees to his company. He also included bribes in his offers and invoices sent to lenders, and she was responsible for making sure the bribes were paid.

Error states

In Louisiana, a 47-year-old woman was arrested on charges of forgery after a real estate agent informed police of what appeared to be forged documents. Pamela Chandler, aka Pamela Goldwyn, has been charged with two counts of counterfeiting after trying to buy a million dollar house in Benton. The keen-eyed officer noticed something was wrong and notified local authorities.

During the investigation, the Bossier Parish Financial Crimes Task Force discovered that Chandler had altered a letter from a lawyer in an attempt to convince the agent that she had access to sufficient funds to purchase the House. It turned out that she was also wanted on warrants in Texas on various counts, including fraud.

And in West Chester County, NY, a man has been arrested after allegedly posing as a real estate agent to collect rental fees from unsuspecting tenants. On four separate occasions – at least the four that authorities are aware of – he allegedly charged his brands substantial real estate brokerage and application fees after posting fraudulent ads on popular websites.

Let us not forget organized crime either. The New York City District Council of Carpenters did not. To a bold step, he has extended his authority to bring charges against members suspected of mob membership or mob ties. Or, as a court order filed on behalf of the union stated, “knowingly associate with any member or associate of a La Cosa Nostra criminal family or any other criminal group”.

According to press reports, the union has been under judicial control since 1994 and in recent years has come under further pressure to fight any association with organized crime after a member made headlines for renting an apartment. from Queens to a mafia society. club run by the gangster “Bobby Glasses”. You can’t make things like that up, even in the movies.

Hard time

These cases all involved tax losses. Sometimes crimes result in physical loss, as many realtors can testify. Indeed, of all the professions related to housing, being a real estate agent is the most dangerous, at least on a personal level. The danger of selling homes does not compare to that faced by taxi drivers, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics says is the most dangerous job. But as many agents can attest, it is nonetheless fraught with risk.

Surely we have all heard of or read cases where an agent or other professional involved in the sale of a property has lost their life. Just a few months ago, for example, a home inspector on assignment in Huntington Beach, Calif., Was shot and killed. Police charged a man who was involved in a family dispute over whether to sell the house left to four siblings by their father.

Or maybe you are familiar with the recent murder of a West Omaha agent, who was found dead in a house for sale. But have you heard – or read – about the man from Nebraska who was arrested last December in connection with the alleged murder of a real estate agent? The agent had recently purchased the property and was showing it to the suspected killer as a potential tenant.

Or the agent from North Ridgefield, Ohio, who was attacked in front of a house for sale? Although traumatized, she fared much better than those mentioned above when she was attacked by two men armed with knives who attempted to pull her inside the house. She managed to escape and locked herself in her car.

What about the Utah agent who ended up at the end of business with a gun by a man who told him and his client to leave his property? The guy locked himself in the house before being taken into custody. Likewise, a Tennessee agent was opening a safe to show a location when he was approached by an 18-year-old man wielding a gun who demanded he run away. The officer threw away his car keys, fled, and the gunman then stole his car.

And who can forget the poor bewildered black real estate agent in Wyoming, Michigan, who was showing a house to a client when police arrived at the scene and handcuffed them both – in front of the client’s 15-year-old son. Police were responding to a neighbor’s 911 call. “The level of the response and the aggressiveness of the response was definitely a step backwards, it really set me back,” Brown told local media. “Am I just automatically the criminal?” Because that’s pretty much how we were treated in this situation.

This incident made national headlines every night. But you’ve probably never heard of Realtor Black – a former Police Officer in the U.S. Capitol – waiting in his car to photograph a client’s home in Arlington, Virginia, when several cars from police showed up and asked for identification. “They have three police cars here for me,” said the officer, who described the incident as demeaning. “I’m an agent and a photographer and that’s what we get in this climate. It’s ridiculous.”

Agents Provacateurs

Sometimes, however, as in the financing industry, the agents are the perpetrators and not the victims. And sometimes they are their worst enemies. In Los Angeles, a Beverly Hills real estate agent was accused of being an accomplice to a thief who posed as an agent and stole more than 2,000 items from homes the rich and famous had put in. sale.

And who can forget Jenna Ryan, the Texas real estate agent who stormed the Capitol in January and stopped to pose for photos she then posted on social media to plug her real estate business. In case you missed it, she pleaded guilty to demonstrating inside the building, a felony punishable by a $ 500 fine and up to six months in jail. She was one of two agents – the other was former Olympic medalist Klete Keller – accused of knowingly entering a restricted building to obstruct an official government function, disorderly conduct and obstructing law enforcement officials .

Then there is a whole category of real estate agents who commit acts which, without necessarily being crimes, are nonetheless reprehensible. Surely you’ve heard of the Arizona agent shouting racist slurs at two people outside his home, for example? A video of his rant has gone viral.

But do you know the Brooklyn agent who made a racist screed when a gym manager asked him to wear a mask? Or the California agent who was filmed insulting an Asian American woman in Brentwood? Or the New York City agent whose callous behavior towards homeless people – throwing empty beer bottles at them – was also captured on video. Or the agent who was also seen on video running over a neighbor and destroying the “Biden For President” signs she had placed in her yard.

To the credit of their employers, these agents were all summarily dismissed by their respective brokerage firms. “How our agents represent their communities is of the utmost importance to us,” said one company. Another chain, a large chain, said that it “does not condone or condone racism or discrimination. The immediate manner in which this issue was handled by our franchise office shows that our core values ​​have been upheld.”

Overall, the housing industry can be dangerous. The flimflam men – and sometimes the women – are there, ready to take your money or someone else’s money in an instant. Or maybe your life. And so are the racists and fanatics among us who come out from under the rocks to show their true colors when they think no one is watching. Or when they hope everyone is watching.

So I’ll leave you with a Sgt. Phil Esterhaus, who kicked off every episode of Hills Street Blues, the long-running 1980s crime drama, with these immortal words: “Let’s be careful over there.


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Cory E. Barnes

The author Cory E. Barnes

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