Monday, June 4, 2012

Detroit Feds Pinch Notorious Area R/E Operator Suspected Of Screwing Over Naive Homebuyers With Land Contracts On Homes In Some Stage Of Foreclosure

In Detroit, Michigan, WXYZ-TV Channel 7 reports:

  • For the dozens of people who nave complained for years about the business tactics of a local real-estate investor, this is a day they felt would never come. But [Thursday] morning, FBI agents arrested Leonard Bale, and delivered him to the federal courthouse in Detroit to face a criminal complaint.

    7 Action News has been reporting for months on how 61-year-old Bale of Farmington Hills and his Wolverine Investment company have been selling houses to families that were in some stage of foreclosure. In many cases, they found the property on Craig’s List ads, which in part, lead to the wire fraud charges against Bale [].

    In the federal criminal complaint, Bale is accused of using Craig’s list ads to “execute a scheme to defraud” people who bought houses from him. We spoke to some of his customer’s last fall.

    I put new flooring in, put the gutter up, and we put a brand new back deck on,” said Kim Ostrander of the Garden City house she bought from Bale two years ago. “I handed him $5,000 in cash, then $1,400 more.”

    Foreclosure notices from a bank then came in the mail. Bale went to court to force Ostrander to move out. Though she had a land contract with Bale, his was evicting her as if she was a tenant. Ostrander is now one of ten people who are suing Bale in civil court.

    Ostrander and more than a dozen others showed us the houses Bale sold them, which had lots of repair issues. Bale’s staff allegedly removed the bright orange signs city inspectors posted warning that the homes were in serious disrepair. But Bale allegedly showed the houses to new buyers as if they were move-in condition.

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