One of the worst things you can find out during the holidays is that you’re living in a home that someone else owns. But that’s exactly what’s happening throughout the Houston area as families are finding out they got scammed. There are a ton of scam artists out there who are willing to sell ugly houses that they don’t actually own. That’s why we at, “We Buy Ugly Houses” love when these criminals get caught because they give the industry a bad name.
Fake Leases on Craigslist
Ariel Sustaita, a scam artist was recently held accountable of her actions by Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman. Sustaita would get on Craigslist and pose as a leasing agent for a number of home sellers throughout the Houston area. The homes posted on Craigslist were vacant and under a number of fictitious names. The actual home owners had no idea their homes were on Craigslist, let alone being leased by some random man.
The way Sustaita got keys into the hands of her, “buyers” was by working for a home in section company that kept keys to vacant homes. As part of her actual job she would place realtor’s locks on the front doors of homes to make everything look legit. When the time came home for the actual purchase she would simply make duplicate keys, create some fake documents to sign, and blam-o fake home sale done.
Everything fell apart though when a neighbor of one of the fake homes sales told Sustaita she didn’t have permission to lease their neighbor’s home. That neighbor was actually asked by the real owners to watch over the home and report anything suspicious to them. Soon afterwards the local Sheriff was informed of the suspicious activity and a sting operation was setup.
After the local law enforcement had collected enough evidence they arrested Sustaita at a coffee shop. Sustaita arrived expecting to collect the money for one of the homes she was leasing, and was arrested instead. She was carrying receipts with the names and addresses of each person she was leasing a home to and the dollar amount of each fraudulent leases.
Victims and Families
Law enforcement followed the paper trail and found all the victims of the scam. Unfortunately these families had to leave their, “homes.” But at least it came before the holidays as opposed to during the holidays. Precinct assistant chief Mark Herman said, “Next week is back-to-school (after Thanksgiving) and these families . . . will have to find new homes.” What a shame.
Avoid the hassle, do your research and work with us, “We Buy Ugly Houses.” We’re the sister company of HomeVestors the number one homebuyer in America.