A man from Modesto, California was arrested on accusations he scammed real estate investors, a report on News10 said.
Xue Heu, 37, is facing charges of eight counts of wire fraud for allegedly defrauding over $360,000 worth of investments from property investors who believe he was putting them in different portfolios. He used the money for personal gains, the report stated.
According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California, Heu claimed he was a representative of Liquid Assets & Land Investments Inc. and Capital Land Investments, LLC which he said invested in forms that bought and sold properties between August 2007 and October 2013.
To support his scheme and to show investors proof of the legitimacy of the investment endeavors, he presented them fabricated documents, including fake grant deeds, HUD-1 settlement statements and portfolio listings. Most of the listings were non-existent and had already been sold, according to the news release.
The case was brought on by a series of investigations conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Stanislaus County District Attorney's Office.
If found guilty of the charges, Heu would face 20 years of jail time, and pay $250,000 fine for each of the eight counts of wire fraud, the news release said.
Records on the business database of the California Secretary of State website showed that Liquid Assets & Land Investments Inc.'s account has been suspended. One entry on complaint resolution platform Scambook in 2011 also stated that the company has been "defunct" for several years yet Heu continued to operate under the business name.
Two users on the web site defended Heu saying that the fraud rumors were part of a defamation campaign against Heu. "This rumor was spread due to personal reasons from the Ficker family. It's all part of a smear campaign and is technically libel," said one of the users.
To avoid fraudulent real estate transactions, real estate investors should go straight to real estate firms or licensed agents directly when buying or investing in properties instead of entrusting their money to third parties. RealBiz Media Group, Inc. (OTCQB: RBIZ) creates video listing platforms like Nestbuilder.com where consumers can find properties marketed by licensed real estate professionals themselves. Through RealBiz Media's platforms, consumers can connect directly with agents to invest in real estate properties without going to middlemen or third-party brokers.
Forbes.com also suggests that a rule of thumb in avoiding real estate scams is by never paying upfront fees or cold cash for a certain service or property asset. It also said in a report that investors should do their homework on a company or a broker first and to refer to the Better Business Bureau website for the company's credibility ratings.