Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Profile Of A Suspected Upfront Fee Real Estate Ripoff Scammer

From Phoenix, Arizona, the following excerpt has been taken from a recent investigative report by KPNX-TV Channel 12 and The Arizona Republic on upfront fee real estate ripoffs:

  • [E]lizabeth Kingsley-Young, 57, runs a San Tan Valley firm called Insight Investment Group LLC that offers to help people with poor credit and previous foreclosures fund new-home purchases through private equity loans. All for an up-front fee.

  • Kingsley-Young promises to find housing for families with bad credit, bankruptcies and low incomes. On its website, Insight Investment offers residential and commercial financing, rent-to-own properties, no-money-down loans, housing grants and financing seminars.

  • Through its non-profit partner, Empowering Resources, the company's website says it offers "hope and restoration in the lives of individuals and families affected by poverty or any of life's other crippling obstacles."

  • However, Kingsley-Young has about 15 aliases, a criminal history dating back at least 30 years and has served prison time in Texas, California and Minnesota for fraud, counterfeiting and forgery, records show.

  • In Arizona, she has identified herself as a doctor, a lawyer and as having an MBA. Kingsley-Young was born and raised in Texas. An investigation by The Arizona Republic found she has been hired as a bookkeeper, mortgage-company clerk, grant writer and non-profit manager; records show those jobs all ended amid allegations of fraud.

  • "You can't judge somebody's present by their pasts," Kingsley-Young said in an interview in late April. "This is a situation that has two sides." She has not been charged with any crime in Arizona. In interviews at her home and by phone, Kingsley-Young declined to answer specific questions about her business or about any of her clients.

  • State records show neither Kingsley-Young nor her companies are licensed as mortgage lenders or real-estate agents. Her companies are also not registered as valid corporations in Arizona. And the IRS has no record of granting tax-exempt status to her companies, meaning they are not valid non-profits.

  • Kingsley-Young rents "virtual office" space at a building in east Mesa, uses a post-office box as her corporate mailing address and does most of her business out of a home near Ironwood and Ocotillo roads in Pinal County, records and interviews show.

  • An analysis of the Insight Investment Group website found that the biography of its president was picked up nearly verbatim from another company's website. Educational, vocational and property records searches found nobody living in the United States who matched the names and backgrounds of Insight's listed corporate officers.
  • On her contract signature line, Kingsley-Young has identified herself as "Dr. Liz A. Kingsley, MBA, JD, PhD." In interviews, Kingsley-Young admitted that she is not a lawyer and does not have a law degree. She would not discuss her other credentials, but extensive records searches were unable to verify her MBA or doctorate.

  • Kingsley-Young acknowledged arrests and convictions on white-collar fraud charges in Texas, California and Minnesota since the 1980s. She also has a string of civil judgments and liens for unpaid state and federal taxes since 1994.

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