A former pop punk musician has admitted to running a real estate scam that defrauded more than 100,000 people out of $27 million.

Michael Davenport, who once played bass for the The Ataris, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in the U.S. after being indicted on numerous related charges earlier this year.

For his plea deal, Davenport confessed to running a Santa Barbara-based real estate company that presented potential sham listings for homes for sale or rent on Craigslist, HousingWire first reported. To execute the scam, Davenport and his associates posted what they called “pre-foreclosure” house ads at prices well below market rate and asked users to pay a $199 fee to access property information. After users paid the fees, they then found that the homes either did not exist or were not for sale. Their fee, meanwhile, was gone.

Court documents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois found that Davenport’s company managed to defraud over 100,000 people out of at least $27 million over a seven-year period. Over the years, his company has operated by at least 12 different names, including Housing Standard, MDSQ Production and, most recently, American Standard.

To quell both homebuyers who lost their fee and homeowners who called wondering why their property was listed for sale, American Standard representatives would say that the homeowner was “too embarrassed” to admit that their home was being foreclosed, prosecutors found.

Now that he fessed up to the crime, Davenport is due back in court Dec. 28. Already ordered to forfeit the $853,210 seized from his merchant processing accounts and $79,000 in cash, Davenport could also be ordered to pay restitution to the people his company defrauded. He also risks as much as 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Three of Davenport’s old employees are also awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to the fraud earlier this year.

Email Veronika Bondarenko

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription