A Hazleton, Pennsylvania realtor could serve up to ten years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The realtor was arrested in Florida after fleeing there to avoid prosecution.
The realtor preyed on mostly Spanish-speaking, first-time homebuyers, telling them he was authorized to sell to them homes that were vacant or were in foreclosure. The victims agreed to buy the homes and paid the realtor, as well as other parties, for what the victims believed to be their new homes. In fact, the realtor was not authorized to sell the homes, and the fraud began to unravel when the victims began receiving eviction notices from the true owners.
Many of the victims have filed a federal lawsuit seeking civil damages against the realtor and many of the realty companies with which he was associated. James Halpin “Real estate agent admits to scam” standardspeaker.com (May 26, 2017).