Real Estate Transaction Scams
GAINESVILLE - It's a scam happening right in Gainesville.
Attorneys receiving fake or stolen checks for large amounts of money.
"Ninety- nine percent of them are false checks. They are stolen," said Jose Moreno.
Moreno is an attorney in Gainesville. He said over a week ago he received a check for more than $200,000 in the mail.
It was from a man who said he wanted Moreno to represent him in a real estate transaction.
"It's just an envelope with a check and for a strange amount and no sooner after you receive the check two or three days later they are calling you to ask if you received the check and if you have if you can wire money out for whatever reason," said Moreno.
That's when Moreno knew it was a scam, but other potential victims may not catch on until it's too late .
Moreno told TV 20 what would have happened if he would have deposited the check.
"More than likely your bank will clear it within a week or 10 days," Moreno said. "You wire the money. You think 'hey this is a legitimate thing.' Maybe a month later the bank says, 'wow that check is bounced' and then they come hit your account. Now there is no tracing."
Moreno wasn't the only one who suspected the scam. Broker Associate Terry Martin-Back is the one who posted this house for sale online.
Soon after, a man contacted Martin-Back about buying the home. He said there were signs that led him to believe the man was not who he said he was.
"I just didn't get a good feeling when he sent me his drivers license," Martin-Back said. "How do I know what a UK driver's license looks like? I delved into that research and found out that what he sent me was a fake."
The man stole the identity of a London doctor named Andrew Cowley.
The picture of the man in the fake id looks nothing like the real Dr. Andrew Cowley. The perpetrator sent Martin-Back e-mails with Dr. Cowley's information, so he knows this is definitely a scam.
Now attorneys like Moreno have to be more cautious when dealing with real estate transactions.
"Unfortunately it goes with territory. It comes with the territory. It is what it is," said Moreno.
Moreno said he will not be depositing the check. He is leaving it locked up in a file cabinet since he knows the perpetrator will not be contacting him.
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