Archive for Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Area renter thought to be victim of fraud

September 30, 2009

Renters beware: The person you’re renting from might not be the owner or true real estate agent of a property.

The Leavenworth County Sheriff’s office continues to investigate a report of fraud by false pretense — a renter paid a person reportedly posing as a Triple Creek Realty agent, but the agent appears to be bogus.

Charlie Stimac, owner/broker of Triple Creek Realty in Tonganoxie, said he received a call from the listing agent for a residence that someone was renting northwest of Tonganoxie through one of his agents.

Stimac said the supposed real estate agent took an agent’s business card — which happened to belong to one of Stimac’s agents — that was in the house and presented it to the renter.

In gaining information about the situation, Stimac learned that the supposed agent told the renter he did not have any of his own business cards available at the time, but gave her his name and his business partner’s card — that of the legitimate Triple Creek agent.

Stimac said he wasn’t pleased when he was told about the incident.

“Well, I’m upset first of all that they’re using my company name to do fraudulent business,” Stimac said. “I’ve never heard of this guy.”

Capt. Andy Dedeke said the renter told officers she paid someone she thought was a real estate agent $1,800 in cash — $700 for rent, $700 security deposit and $400 for an animal deposit at a residence northwest of Tonganoxie.

Dedeke said the renter found the residence’s listing online and went to the residence to view it. The woman then made contact with the person and he agreed to a lease.

Stimac said the name the person gave to the renter matched a local resident, but the resident didn’t match the person she identified.

“Through this investigation thus far it’s been determined the agent for the property most likely is a fraud,” Dedeke said.

Though Dedeke has seen cases of issues between landlords and renters or someone claiming squatter’s rights — someone inhabiting an abandoned property for a number of years — this is a first.

“I think that this victim did everything by the numbers and thought she was with a credible agent,” Dedeke said. “I don’t think in her wildest dreams did she think she was being taken for a ride.”

At the same time, Dedeke warned prospective buyers and renters to be careful when looking for a home.

“It’s buyer beware,” he said. “If the deal sounds too good to be true, maybe it is.”

Stimac said he’s heard of problems with vacant homes in the area.

“I understand there is a lot of things going on with vacant homes. In the metropolitan area as well as rural there’s some of this going on,” Stimac said. “I’ve got enough things to contend with. I don’t need somebody gallivanting around acting like they’re an agent of this office.”


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