Saturday, December 17, 2011

Unwitting Would-Be Tenants Continue Falling For Foreclosure Rent Scams

In Rockwall County, Texas, WFAA-TV Channel 8 reports:

  • From the stockings to the Christmas tree, Kimberly Agee and her family planned to celebrate the holiday in their new home in Heath, but now their future is in limbo. "We are finally getting settled. We thought this was our big break," said Agee. "And then there's a knock on the door. It's the constable serving us with an eviction notice, and we've been only here two weeks at this point."

  • The family rented the home after responding to an ad on Craigslist. It turns out this home is a foreclosure. Fannie Mae, the owner, told News 8 it took over the property more than 50 days ago and that it was illegally rented out. They consider Agee to be the victim of a rental scheme, and the agency has launched an investigation.


  • Documents show that Agee, a single mother, signed a one-year lease with Dan Blackburn from Housmart Inc. The company's Web site indicates it specializes in helping families stop foreclosures. The Housmart operation is based out of a luxury high-rise on Victory Park Lane in downtown Dallas. We didn't find Blackburn there, but we reached him by phone.

  • Blackburn told News 8 that as far as he knew, the house was in litigation and couldn't comment any further. When we asked him if he had the authority to rent out the home, the call went silent. News 8 tried to contact Blackburn again, but our calls were not returned.

For the story, see Family searching for new home after alleged rental scheme.

For story update, see More families come forward in Rockwall rental scheme:

  • [D]ozens of viewers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area e-mailed News 8 after the initial report aired Sunday, Dec. 4, telling us they were in the same predicament and had no recourse.

  • Call the Dallas Police Swindle Unit if you did drop off any payments to the Victory Park Lane location where Housmart is located. Police can determine if this is a civil or criminal matter.

  • Theft by deception is a felony, if more than $1,500 was lost in a bogus transaction.

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