Real Estate Scammers Target Florida Home Buyers

“Rent to own” or “lease to own” sounds like it might be an attractive way for some home buyers to go about achieving the American Dream of home ownership. During these uncertain economic times, more and more people are finding it difficult to qualify for a mortgage and are turning to other, more-affordable methods to buy their own home. Unfortunately, there are scam artists out there who are all-too-willing to take advantage of people during hard times.

Two Florida men are currently in custody after authorities caught onto their real estate scam. The two men were targeting homes that were either for sale or in some stage of foreclosure and then taking it upon themselves to change the locks on these homes and then advertise them to potential tenants as “lease to own” properties. Although the news report does not indicate how long it took for these two geniuses to be apprehended, it does not seem like it would take all that long before their scam was discovered.

At some point or another a real estate agent, bank employee or someone else is bound to make an appearance at one of the homes these scam artists were using to perpetrate their crime. It was probably fairly easy for law enforcement to track them down after the first victim realized that the home they had “leased to own” was really not available in the first place.

The scam targeted homes in the Florida counties of Hillsborough, Hernando, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee.

Ironically, one of the men arrested was the owner of a company called “Help is Here Foreclosure Prevention and Credit Repair.” If that’s how this particular individual “helps” people, I’d say he didn’t have a particularly viable business model. One might suspect that any activity he engaged in while “helping” people also involved ways to get his hands on their money with no benefit to his “customers.”

Both of these compassionate individuals are currently behind bars, where they will hopefully remain for a long time.

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