Following the recent guilty plea of the mastermind of a real estate scam, a woman now also admitted to playing a role in the nationwide scam. According to court documents, she was employed as a salesperson and later promoted to sales manager for a business called American Standard — owned by a former Ataris rock band bass player. She will face white-collar crimes charges under the federal SCAMS Act. She has already pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud.
Court documents indicate that the scam involved the woman, as an employee of American Standard, advertising houses for rent or sale on Craigslist. The favorable prices of the advertised properties led to responses from interested parties nationwide, likely including some from Michigan. Consumers were told that they could obtain the houses by merely taking over mortgage payments because the houses were in the process of foreclosure.
Before any information was provided, consumers had to pay $199 for a complete list of the properties on the company’s books. Once they paid that fee, they found that the houses were non-existent. The US Attorney’s office reported that this scam continued from Jan. 2009 through Oct. 2016, during which time over 100,000 consumers lost more than $25 million.
Although this woman has pleaded guilty to white-collar crimes charges, she still has legal rights. To ensure those rights are protected, Michigan people in similar situations usually secure the services of a criminal defense attorney. A lawyer who has extensive experience in dealing with white-collar crimes charges can use the time leading up to sentencing to work on a strategy to obtain the best possible outcome.