Deb's Lake Conroe Real Estate & Stuff! : SCAM ARTISTS - SCAM ARTISTS - wolves in sheep's clothing.

SCAM ARTISTS - SCAM ARTISTS - wolves in sheep's clothing.

SCAM ARTISTS - SCAM ARTISTS - wolves in sheep's clothing. While reading a post by Jason Crouch,  I am a WYSIWYG kind of guy who can't stand working with HTML clients. I could see how so much of what he says is true. Jason tells us that HTML clients are those that are "Hard-To-Manage Liars" or "Hard-to-Manage Losers" or "Hard to Manage Lately". "You could also use any other word that you think will fit here." Quote by Jason.

Once upon a time two scam artists visited Huntsville, Texas.

They seemed like a sweet elderly couple that had a zest for life and the desire to live in a waterfront home. They were the type of people that made you feel "special" and you wanted to care for them as your elders. They had a dream. It was to live on Lake Livingston for their final years. She wanted to look out her kitchen window and watch her loving husband throw his line out for fishing each morning. He just wanted her to be happy looking at the water from her kitchen window. Get the picture?

I found their dream home on the water.

They signed all the paperwork with me and gave me a $2,000.00 earnest money check. I was joyful for them, the sellers, and me!!!

"We have a large sum of money being transferred to us from overseas that should be here in just a couple of days.  Please wait to put the check in for us honey, okay??"


This is suppose to be a cash deal for a house of $250,000 but they couldn't do $2,000.00?


I was concerned. I did visit with the Sellers about the offer and we came to a verbal agreement. Two days later we went as far as signing the offer. I still had no money.

My sweet elderly couple called me EVERY- DAY- BARRING- NONE with their reassurances that the money was on its way. They told me their word was golden. They begged me not to sell THEIR house and they would have the money any day! After about a week  of this I was still sitting on the paperwork and the check. I did not take the house off the market and it was actively showing. With each moment it was looking bleaker. With each moment I was feeling more uncomfortable with the entire situation.

The week became two, then three and then....I sold the house to someone else.

                                           Don't worry that's not the punch line.

The Funds are coming, The funds are coming!

A previous acquaintance contacted me with shocking news. He desperately needed to sell his $500,000.00 waterfront home before the bank took it over. Come to find out, he and his wife and son had sold the house to an elderly couple...........yep.

My couple.

Somehow, the couple managed to SCAM the agent and the Title Company into closing without funding!!!!  Not the local Title Company I use, BTW. Can you believe that?? Can you??

My new client told me they were suppose to receive a win-fall from overseas and it just hadn't gotten there yet. The couple MOVED IN to his home and had all the utilities and services and even the tax rolls changed to their names. They managed to live there for seven months. They had bar-b-ques and got to know the neighbors.

Now, since my new client (the victim) had purchased yet another house for more than $500,000.00, he was unable to make both payments! The elderly couple were having the time of their lives in a beautiful home on the water!!!! Just like they wanted.

Meanwhile, my client's financial life was being destroyed. It took months to get them out of the house. It took Lawyers. The Title Company and the Agent involved with the sale have lawsuits pending. What a mess.

I sold his house by the hair of my chinney chin chin before it hit total foreclosure. It helped my heart.                He is still my client.

I was suppose to be their next victim.

                        You can never be too careful. Watch out for wolves in sheep's clothing.

 Isn't it strange to have the tables turned? Usually we have to watch the elderly to keep them safe! I'm just not use to the idea of having to watch out for them.





                                                                                                                          and Proud of it!  Deb







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Comment balloon 34 commentsDeb Brooks • February 12 2008 12:34PM


Deb - That is a terrible experience for your client.  We had a scam artist a few years ago that closed but never funded, but he also never took possession of the property.  It turns out he was scamming an older lady out of her teacher retirement.  It was a very complex scam, truth be known.  The last I heard his "assistant" was in jail and he was missing.

Thanks for mentioning my post and quote!

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 11 years ago


I have heard of crazy before but that is crazy. If it was not so tragic it would be funny.

Happy Selling!
Tony Grego - Indiana Mortgage Broker

Posted by Tony Grego, 317-663-4173 #1 Trade Association for Alternative Inv (REISA - 317-663-4173) over 11 years ago
Deb - I would have never thought that an old couple would pull something like this and make it work.  Thanks for the open honesty and congrats for having a successful outcome and saving your client.  That's the silver lining in all of this, good job!
Posted by Jem Woods, Marble Falls TX Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty - Marble Falls, TX) over 11 years ago

Debra, what a scary story!!  Things are just not always as they appear are they?  I can't believe they got them to close without funding.  Why couldn't they get them out of the house when the money did not arrive?  Wow is that scary!! 

People often ask if they can move in and pay rent before the house closes. I always tell them I don't think that is a good idea and this just reconfirms.

Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) over 11 years ago
my GOODNESS.,  I'm appalled that we as professional can be duped by someone who looks and acts and speaks so nicely to us..   Many folks are way too trusting,,  this is a good reminder to stay professional and while one need not be skeptical of every person we deal with we must exercise caution in business and remember our due diligence.  (I too am guilty of trusting too much sometimes.)
Posted by South Austin Real Estate Blog (Sky Realty South Austin) over 11 years ago
Wow, what a story ! We just had an alert come across our Association : There is an eldery couple driving a white mini van. They are looking for lease purchases. They are bouncing checks for the down payment then giving fraudulant money orders to buy them time...It seems like it is everywhere.
Posted by Melissa Grant, The Law of Attraction In Life & Business (A Serendipity World) over 11 years ago

Jason, your welcome and I always enjoy reading your posts. Thank you! Deb

Tony, I was amazed at all this. I still can't really laugh about it.

Thank you Gem. It was a really good turnout although my clients credit was damaged in this all. It could have been worse.

Marchel, they had the paperwork showing they bought the house! It often takes weeks for the deed to be filed so that didn't come into play. Once the utilities were legally changed to the buyers names the "owner" had no recourse! Scary, huh?

Gail, they were just too cute. I believed them but my instinct was able to over ride it.

Melissa, My couple drove a white mini-van!!!! Do you have anything in writing about them? I remember what they look could I forget? Oh yeah, sometimers.

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) over 11 years ago

By the book.... That is what I always say!!!

Don't be in too much of a hury to close a sale for the sake of closing a sale.

Posted by Tom Burris, Texas/Louisiana Mortgage Pro - 13 YRS Experience (NMLS# 335055) over 11 years ago

Howdy Debra

You just never know what age scam artists will be.

I am very glad you did not become their next victim, you are to fine of a lady to have that happen to you.

Have a good one


Posted by Dale Baker, New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information (Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections) over 11 years ago


There are cons everywhere, it is unfortunate.  When I worked for a real estate attorney we always warned our clients stingently against pre-possession.  Sometimes what may seem like a small convenience and favor can turn into a nightmare.  Thank you for sharing your story.

Posted by Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant (Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision) over 11 years ago
I have never had that particular type of experience with the elderly, but, I had a very similar experience with someone younger on a commercial property.  I ID sell it to someone else and while we were under contract he tried every trick in the book to get it away.  I later found out that he did this all over the lake.  He was a bird dog and never had any money.  He would go around telling tall tales and once he had someone's property tied up he would run around and try to find someone else to sell it to at a nice markup.
Posted by Gayle Balaban, E. TN Waterfront Real Estate (The Best Spot Realty/Waterfront Real Estate/Ooltewah Real E) over 11 years ago


Outstanding post. I appreciate you sharing this. My wife and I have been involved in Real Estate for the past 10 years and you kind of get a gut feeling about people right off. The one thing I learned early was to be deaf to what was said and alive to every action and in-action.

Posted by Alan Kirkpatrick, Alan in Austin (Austin Texas Homes) over 11 years ago

Tom, You're right about by the book. This is why I didn't file anything. I couldn't dot the i's and cross the t's. Good call. Later in the rain, Deb

Dale, Occasionally I trust too much. I think we all do. Later in the rain, Deb

Rebecca, there are cons everywhere. Maybe they are just dreamers with no other way to make their dreams happen? Later in the rain, Deb

Gayle, birddogs can be dangerous. I think they fall back to the old school of RE. I tell you about it and I get a cut. Hum...not really good. There are reasons for our ethics and laws. Good call. Later in the rain, Deb

Alan, You do begin to feel it. In your gut anyway. I wanted to believe the best of these people but my common sense and gut told me not to. Later in the rain, Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) over 11 years ago


I have just one word:  unbelievable!  Were they every prosecuted?

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) over 11 years ago
O my gosh! What a scam! What really surprise me however, is that ANY agent or Title co would close without funding..What?!!! Not this suspicious TN girl! No way! Glad you felt something wrong and they went on to easier targets! Man, some people...old or young.
Posted by Vanessa Stalets, REALTOR, Brentwood TN Homes, Real Estate (RE/MAX Elite) over 11 years ago

Mike, as far as I know, no. I don't think there is anything they could charge them for. With them (supposedly) thinking that they "bought" the house there is nothing the law could do to them. Here in Texas no one is ever "charged with a bad debt" except their credit report. In all essence, they did nothing wrong. Over and over and over. Hum. Later in the rain, Deb

It more than surprised me! Melissa, small towns can be too trusting at times. We believe in one's word. I'm continually becoming more scepticle though. I wish I could learn more about the TN scam...what happened? Later in the rain, Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) over 11 years ago

It seems like this is happening in all forms. Good for you for doing the right thing. How obvious is it to know not to close with outfunding.


Posted by Bonner Thomason, CRS, ABR, GRI, e-Pro (Keller Williams Realty) over 11 years ago
Bonner, no joke. If it were that easy I would be buying million dollar houses! Ha. Later in the rain, Deb
Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) over 11 years ago

Deb...  OMG!  That is just sickening...  The poor man!

I'm understanding that this was a "cash deal"...right?

I have to wonder...didn't the owner have an attorney?  Who advised him to close with no funding?  With no verification and transfer of check?  The attorney?  The agent?

How do professionals allow something like this to occur?  What am I missing...? 

Posted by Lisa Rapose (ReDesign To Sell (TM)) over 11 years ago

Lisa, It's just wrong isn't it? I have no answers about the title company or why they would close with no cash. The title co itself has an attorney and I guess he was napping??? You're not missing anything. This really happened. Ugh.

Later in the rain, sweet girl. Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) over 11 years ago
Deb...  It's a very sad story...  I'm curious to know how it all plays out...  I can certainly understand why there are pending lawsuits...  Thank God you helped him out of the 2nd mortgage payment!  He'll always be a client...
Posted by Lisa Rapose (ReDesign To Sell (TM)) over 11 years ago
Lisa, I'm not really sure anything will EVER happen with this. The individuals that have the pending lawsuits end up running out of money and energy. The elderly couple wouldn't have anything for them but I would Not stop going after the Title company. Later in the rain, Deb
Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) over 11 years ago




































































You know.. I saw a lot of white collar crooks come out in the 80's and I guess they are showing up again. Sorry you had to deal with this.







Posted by Trey Thurmond, College Station , Texas Homes (BCR Realtors) over 11 years ago

Hi Deb!

What a story.....I'm glad that everything turned out ok for you and your clients and you were able to sell their homes to someone else.   I'm well aware of wolves in sheep's clothing.....just because someone is wearing a human suit, does not mean they have the human qualities of honesty, compassion, empathy and a conscience.

Cons walk everywhere amongst us and they can be any age or sex or come from any walk of life....

Thanks for the warning,


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith over 11 years ago
Hi Debra,
Wow!  Incredible story.  The reason they were so successful in their scam, of course, was their age and appearance of "sweet, little elderly couple".  Yep, wolves alright! 
Posted by Cynthia Tilghman, Realtor® Onslow County NC Home Specialist (Kingsbridge Realty, Inc) over 11 years ago
Wow, how scary!  I'm glad it all worked out for you.  In a strange way it reminds me of the old couple in the old movie Dirty Dancing...I guess I'm getting old too:)
Posted by Diane Aurit, Lake Norman Real Estate (LKN Realty, LLC) over 11 years ago
Dirty Dancing Diane??? I'm trying to remember the couple...really I loved that movie. If I wait a few years I could BE the lady! Ha. Now, I want to see Dirty Dancing. Later in the rain, Deb
Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) over 11 years ago

Jo-Anne, They picked the right part of the US to pull a scam like this one. We have a tendancy of trusting a bit too much. Later in the rain, Deb


Trey! I'm sorry too but it's just another learning experience. Later in the rain, Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) over 11 years ago
Debra, thanks for sharing this sorry tale. We all want to believe in the goodness of people but it goes to show you anyone is capable of deceit.
Posted by Debbie Malone, From Lynchburg To The Lake (434) 546-0369 (Londeree's Real Estate & Property Management) over 11 years ago
That's the truth Debbie. And, it usually somehow involves money...:-0 Deb
Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) over 11 years ago

Debra...I'm reeling!  How have you managed to stay upright!

It makes you wonder how people, young or old, can take pleasure in having things when others are paying the price.

We can never be too vigilant.  What a shame it has to be that way.

It is agents like you that make also me very proud to be a REALTOR®.


Posted by Kate Elim, Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a (Dockside Realty) over 11 years ago

Kathleen, this is unbelievable, huh? You can't prosecute anyone in the state of Texas for bad debt and they couldn't prove it was intentional...even if they kept telling that story.

I'm proud to know you too Kate girl. I would never hesitate to send business your way. Later in the rain~Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) over 11 years ago
Debra- How could county records change with a lien of the mortgage not paid? Never let anyone move into your home before the closing has terminated ownership. What a scary story. Good job not being in the middle of that mess.
Posted by Mark Horan, "The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC & (Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC) over 11 years ago
Hi Mark, I don't think the county records changed. Just the local ones like phone, electric, water and so on. That's all it took to hang things up for months. I'm afraid that had it been changed at the county level they would still be living there! Later in the rain~Deb
Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) over 11 years ago