OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Local realtors are putting out a warning. They hoped to sell a man million-plus dollar homes, but now believe they were deceived, and want home sellers to watch out.
The real estate world has been on a wild ride these last two years. But a recent client of Tiffany Knauf and MiMi Catherall with Lime Realty may just take the cake.
This client came as a referral, and was looking to buy a high dollar property in the metro.
Mimi and Tiffany say the buyer seemed to have his ducks in a row, with documents proving his wealth and income.
“He told us that he basically wanted to purchase a home,” said MiMi. “That he was moving here from Dallas, and he wanted something big enough for all of his family.”
Soon after, they were showing the buyer dozens of homes, stretching from north Edmond to Cleveland county, some topping $1-million.
The buyer ultimately settled on a home in the Rivendell Neighborhood, which belonged to a former professional athlete, for $1.8-million.
But troubled followed soon after.
“We had a hard time getting his earnest money deposited,” said Tiffany.
To fully close on the deal, MiMi and Tiffany say the client and his company were on the hook for $36-thousand.
But that money never came, despite several assurances it was on the way.
“He deposited a personal Bank of America check as the earnest money,” explained MiMi. “It was fraudulent. It bounced.”
MiMi and Tiffany filed a police report on the buyer for false pretenses, bogus check, and wire fraud. Because he has not yet been criminally charged, KFOR will not be identifying him in this story.
Other realtors across town described similar stories with this same buyer, including Jessica Burris.
Jessica had hoped to sell him a home in the Gallardia neighborhood. She says he was ready to buy, but when it came to putting up necessary funds, he failed to follow through.
“After we signed the contract and everything was good, he ghosted me,” she said.
Some local businesses are out thousands as well because of this buyer. Prior to selling, the homes often undergo an inspection, and that purchase often comes out of the buyer’s pocket.
Mathews Home Inspection tells News 4, the buyer still owes them $3-thousand.
Redbud Property Inspections claims they’re still owed $2-thousand, after a check from the buyer bounced.
In addition, News 4 has learned one of the documents supposedly proving the buyer’s income, is fraudulent.
“I got a just a note from the bank saying, hey, this check didn’t go through – that’s when the flags went up because it was a big check,” said Steve Bennett, with Redbud Property Inspections. “The real loss is this seller on the home. Has had some stranger come in, had a few hours to walk through his house, see everything he owns. I don’t know what this guy’s up to.”
KFOR set out to try and speak with the buyer.
We stopped by an apartment realtors say is somehow tied to the buyer, but the person who answered the door said the buyer was not home.
He also hasn’t returned multiple phone calls and text messages.
So the mystery continues, but regardless, realtors want others to be hyper aware.
“He was trying to gain access to these people’s homes, and I don’t know why,” said Jessica. “But it’s so alarming for sure.”
The Oklahoma Real Estate Commission sent News 4 the following:
The best advice we can offer to a realtor who falls victim to a buyer providing false/forged proof of funds & title companies receiving “hot” earnest money checks is to immediately contact their District Attorney’s Office or The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office. Additionally, we recommend they contact the Oklahoma Association of Realtors legal help line so that other real estate professionals don’t fall victim to the same individual.