Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Spotlight Of Suspicion Focuses On NE Pennsylvania R/E Agent Suspected Of Pocketing Cash On Sales Of Foreclosure Homes He Didn't Own; Cops Serve Search Warrant On Title Agency For Bogus Paperwork; Local Realtor Group Flooded With Complaints

In Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, The Standard Speaker reports:
  • Pennsylvania State Police have named Ignacio “Iggy” Beato, 45, of Hazleton as a person of interest in a multi-agency investigation of real estate fraud.

    Beato has yet to be charged with any crime.

    Beato is suspected of conducting fraudulent real estate transactions among numerous victims in Luzerne County, where he personally accepted deposits, fees and, in some cases, the full purchase price for numerous properties — and then kept the monies for his own personal use, according to troopers.

    State police are investigating claims against Beato dating back to February 2014, according to their most recent report.

    Felix Cabrera of Seybert Street is just one of many who have complained that he thought he purchased a home from Beato, only to find out that Beato did not have the right to sell him the home in the first place.

    The homes that Beato sold during this time period were strictly cash transactions.

    The homes in question were either in foreclosure or owned by HUD and therefore subject to irregular monitoring.

    On July 14, state police acted on a search warrant of Covenant Abstract Inc., a title company in West Hazleton, for documents that Beato shared with the agency.

    Don Elko of Covenant Abstract told the Standard-Speaker that he refused to close deals for the sale of houses that Beato brought him due to irregularities that included two critical documents that did not have the signatures of sellers.

    Jerry T. McGuire, president of the Greater Hazleton Association of Realtors, reported that his office has been flooded with reports of unscrupulous deals in which Beato has been named as an actor.

    McGuire has continued to refer those who have complaints to state police and expressed a concern that the public may generalize Beato’s alleged actions and see realtors in a negative light because of this rare case.

    McGuire also said that he had never seen anything like this in his many decades as a realtor. “Realtors adhere to a high code of ethics,” McGuire said, continuing his explanation that Beato had “gone rogue.”

    Beato was most recently employed by Poggi and Jones LLC of Forty Fort. “After two months,” Ted Poggi of the real estate group said, “I escrowed his license.” Beato was fired and his ability to sell real estate was taken away from him through Poggi’s action.

    However, Poggi refused to discuss the exact circumstances behind the escrow and dismissal for “legal reasons.”

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