News Brief

Michigan man arrested for Florida real estate scheme

Buyers should be vigilant, ask for credentials and be wary of unusual transaction requests
  • Kervin Moreno was arrested after scamming buyers and renters out of nearly $50,000 in down payments.
  • Moreno, who is not a real estate agent, listed homes for sale and rent on Craigslist and other sites.
  • The buyers and renters didn't know they had been scammed until they received foreclosure notices or visits from lender representatives.

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On Jan. 23, a Florida man was arrested for allegedly concocting and executing a real estate scheme that earned him $50,000 from a number of unsuspecting victims.

From April 2012 to June 2014, Kervin Moreno, 45, allegedly posted ads for homes for sale or rent on Craigslist and other sites.

Moreno also allegedly collected down payments from renters and buyers, and the victims became aware of his scheme after receiving foreclosure notices or visits from lender representatives.

According to Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Moreno isn’t a licensed real estate agent, nor is he part of a brokerage.

Before his arrest, a number of victims posted warnings about Moreno on Ripoff Report and WhoScammedYou.com, websites that allow consumers to post complaints about businesses and individuals who they believe scammed them.

The warnings include details of the victim’s dealings with Moreno, from how he reached out to potential buyers, the amount they paid as a down payment as well as the name of the company he told buyers and renters he worked for.

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This isn’t the first time a buyer or renter has been scammed by a so-called agent on Craigslist. In July 2016, a Cleveland couple was scammed out of $5,000 after ex-agent Matthew Boros listed a home for sale on the site. The couple didn’t know Boros wasn’t authorized to sell the home until the actual listing agent called the couple and told them to leave or be arrested for breaking and entering.

In a report by Cleveland.com, the couple found Boros to be “a nice, accommodating real estate agent” and “they never suspected anything was amiss.”

As always, these tales should serve as a reminder to buyers to be vigilant about listings on sites like Craigslist, ask for credentials from someone who claims to be an agent and be wary of unusual financial requests, such as cash upfront.

Email Marian McPherson