Friday, August 28, 2015

Pennsylvania AG: Real Estate Operator Used Bandit Signs, Craigslist To Place Deceptive Ads Claiming Outfit Would Buy Homes "As-Is", "For Cash", Other BS; One Foreclosure-Facing Homeowner Signed Over Title To Home That Was Subsequently Used In Peddling Rent-To-Own Deal While Leaving Defaulted Mortgage Unpaid

From the Office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General:
  • Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane [] announced her office has filed a legal action against the former principal of an Erie County business accused of misleading consumers through advertisements.

    The legal action against Christine J. Neubauer also names her former company, Sell House in 1 Hour, LLC, as a defendant. It was filed in the Erie County Court of Common Pleas by the Office of Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

    The legal action alleges Neubauer’s advertising did not represent the actual services that were offered to consumers once they contacted her business. The ads, which appeared on her website, www.sellhousein1hour.com, and Craigslist, among other places, claimed the company would buy property “as is,” for “cash” and some signs said “stop foreclosure."(1) Other ads offered “quick sales” and “no realtor fees."

    An investigation showed Neubauer and her company did not deliver the services advertised but rather switched consumers to other services once they contacted her. Additionally, the business advertised specific services that required a license under the Mortgage Licensing Act. Neither Neubauer nor her business possessed such a license, the legal action states.

    In one case, the owner of a property who was threatened with foreclosure signed documents transferring the title to her property to Neubauer's company. Rather than provide advertised services, such as a “fast sale” and payment in “cash," Neubauer directed her efforts to finding a tenant for the property who would enter into a rent-to-own transaction.

    These alleged business practices, rather than stopping foreclosure on the original owner’s existing mortgages, exposed the owner to continuing liability on the past due mortgages.

    The legal action accuses Neubauer of violating the Mortgage Licensing Act and the Consumer Protection Law. It seeks to permanently prohibit Neubauer from doing future business with Pennsylvanians, including owning or operating any business that claims to provide real estate or mortgage brokering services.

    The legal action also seeks full restitution for all consumers who have suffered losses as a result of the alleged business practices of Neubauer and her company. Additionally, the legal action seeks a $1,000 civil penalty for each violation of the Consumer Protection Law and $3,000 for each violation involving a person 60 years old or older.
Source: Attorney General's office files legal action against Erie County woman and former business.
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(1) Go here for other posts on the use of "bandit signs" to peddle real estate scams, and go here for examples of bandit signs peddling real estate, related services, and other crap.

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