California police have arrested a woman who posed as a real estate agent in order to swipe tens of thousands of dollars in deposit money from homebuyers.

Maria Flores-Morales | Courtesy of Fresno Police

Police in the Fresno area said several homebuyers came to them with a similar story: a woman named Maria Flores-Morales, 39, came up to them and offered help buying a home. She would show the buyers, many of whom were undocumented immigrants, the outsides of pre-foreclosure homes that were still occupied.

According to the investigators, Flores-Morales would offer to buy the home on behalf of the buyer. After they handed over the deposit, they would never hear from her again

“The suspect was tracked down by multiple victims,” Sergeant Dan Barcellos told local news outlets. “They all had the same story, the same kind of justification, as far as what was going on.”

While the actions took place between September 2017 and February 2019, Flores-Morales has been arrested for grand theft and theft by false pretenses on Sunday. She left jail after making bail and is set to appear in Fresno court later this month.

Over the years, various real estate scams have targeted both homebuyers and agents. Experts recommend double-checking any transfer, sale or contracts before handing over money.

Email Veronika Bondarenko

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Inman Connect starts tomorrow! Get your ticket for $99 before prices go up tonight.GET YOUR TICKET×
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