California broker convicted in $139K ‘rent-to-own’ Ponzi scheme

California real estate broker has been convicted for operating a real estate Ponzi scheme by the Sacramento Superior Court for allegedly swindling 51 victims out of $2,900 each in a “rent-to-own” scam totaling $139,200.

Prosecutors say real estate broker Ronald Russell launched the scheme in 2009 when he told victims he’d use their investments to purchase investment homes, which he would then rent back to them and eventually sell them at the price he paid for the homes. Russell allegedly told victims that they could cancel any time to get their money back.

Instead, Russell used the money for his own expenses and to pay off some investors who wanted their money back, according to the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. No one who invested in the scheme received a house, and few secured refunds, the district attorney’s office found.

Source: Sacramento Business Journal

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