scam

(Illustration courtesy Pixabay)

Every so often, I’ll get tipped about a listing in Dallas that seems too good to be true — a scam, some might say. Sometimes you get photos of the inside, and immediately understand why the Realtor or owner chose a bargain price.

Other times, you know immediately it’s a scam. And that’s what happened Friday when someone mentioned a three-bedroom, two-bath listing near Knox-Henderson that had been priced at $34,000.

Now, we’ve done this before, and by now most CandysDirt.com readers know we have zero reticence about engaging with folks that are probably up to no good. A few years ago we did just that when a property owner found her rental listing duplicated, with the new listing offering the house in Highland Park for a ridiculously low $1,000 a month.

Now, I’d love to send you to the actual listing, but after being alerted by the actual property owner (more on that in a minute), Zillow pulled the fraudulent listing down. However, knowing this would probably be the case, I grabbed screenshots. (more…)

Was Kathy Rifkin’s home the target of an audacious squatter?

Before we begin, I already know have a sick sense of humor with regards to gullibility. For real estate agents, I suspect this is partly a cautionary tale of celebrity blindness. Debbie Hymen, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services KoenigRubloff Realty Group (say that three times fast) apparently began showing Ricco Garrett (stage name Tito Ali) multimillion-dollar homes in the Chicago area in 2013.

Garrett positioned himself as a music producer and rapper with a side business as part-owner of a marijuana farm. Hymen told the first seller’s agent in 2013 that Garrett was “a family friend she had known forever” … according to the lawsuit. Yup, lawsuit. Hymen didn’t produce proof of funds to the (smart) seller’s agent who then didn’t let them tour the $7 million home.

In 2016, the pair tried the same tactic to tour a $6.5 million lakefront home in the area.

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Your worst real estate nightmare: You close on your home, but the sales funds actually don’t pay off your mortgage. Enter Nancy Carroll, the prominent Southlake title agent whose title company was raided by the Texas Department of Insurance about a year and a half ago. Regulators said they were looking for $3 million missing from the company’s escrow accounts, and $2 million from separate investor accounts.

Well, Nancy pleaded guilty Monday in Fort Worth to stealing more than $1.6 million, before she attempted to abandon her business and skipped town last year.

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9625PrestonRd,Dallas-3

I want to make something perfectly clear: an indictment does not mean you are guilty. And U.S. medical law is very complex, a difficult road to navigate. It is also my personal belief that sometimes the medical community is held to higher standards than any other profession while payment for services is tightly regulated by insurance companies. Attorneys pay each other for referrals; physicians are barred from it. Drug companies cannot even give a doctor a pen for fear they will be “unduly influenced”. The government is using nukes in some cases where in others, those who have clearly abused raped the system have gone scot free.

But the law is the law, and there are greedy folks in every profession. Remember that when you learn that a federal grand jury has indicted 21 people — from Dallas to Costa Rica — related to the now-bankrupt Forest Park Medical Centers investigation of a $40 million kick back scheme. The group includes high profile doctors, surgeons and health care executives. The feds said Thursday they took part in a massive, four year illegal kickback scheme to drum up patients. What they allegedly did: since the Forest Park Hospitals (there were five) were physician-owned, they could not treat patients covered by any public health insurance plan (the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, which have notoriously low reimbursements) because they could not bill for them. Forest Park focused on treating patients with better-reimbursing private health care insurance. But they allegedly referred the public health patients to other doctors who then allegedly got a kick-back, which came in the form of sports tickets, diamonds, high end dining and even deals on medical office space and advertising! Talk about goosing the economy!

All very complex, but I’ll tell you what: some really great real estate may be on the horizon:

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