Local renters caught up in housing scam

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NORTHGLENN, Colo. -- Local renters caught in the middle of a housing scam, turn to the FOX31 Problem Solvers for help.

“These are our dining room and hallway decorations. That we can’t even put up because it’s not our home,” Jo Verde said.

After searching for homes to rent on-line, Jo Verde came across a three bedroom home off of West 97th in Northglenn. She found the listing on Craigslist and Zillow.

“I loved the big back yard,” Verde said.

Verde contacted the Landlord, Brian Burns. He told her he was in Texas to be with his son who had cancer. But gave her a key code to check out the place – and she was ecstatic.

“Told them we got cash in hand – we’ll take it now,” Verde said.

Verde paid $2400 dollars for the deposit and first month’s rent. She said Burn’s instructed her to deposit the money into his Wells Fargo account. She talked with a banker to verify.

“I asked him is this legit? And he looked up the account and yep it’s active,” Verde said.

At the end of June, she started moving into the home, but one day later there was a letter taped to the front door. Verde discovered she is now being evicted by the actual property owner.

“We used all our money. I was very trusting and too eager,” Verde said.

Then on Monday night, another man showed up at the house under the impression it was his to rent.

“My daughter saw furniture inside the house. We were going to ask them to leave. I mean it was a shock,” the man said.

The veteran handed over a cashier’s check to the same – Brian Burns. Who also told him he was in Texas to be with his son who was battling cancer. The Problem Solvers gave him a call.

FOX31: “Is this Brian Burns?”

Brian: “Yes”

FOX31: “Is the property at 1165 West 97th Ave still available to rent?”

Brian: “Yes”

FOX31: “That’s funny because I just got done talking to the people who are currently in there and they told me that you ripped them off – that you made off with $2400 dollars of their money?”

The man hung up. The Problem Solvers discovered the property owner listed on the Adams County Assessor website is an LLC company out of Scottsdale, Arizona, CSH 2016 2 BORROWER LLC. They couldn’t be reached on Monday night. While detectives investigate, these two families are scrambling to find another place to live.

“I felt so helpless,” Verde said.

“Karma. What goes around will come around,” the Veteran, who didn’t want to be identified, said.

We talked to a local real estate agent who said with the current housing demand, criminals play on urgency and these fraudulent schemes are becoming all too common.

“There’s a number of red flags the consumer should be aware of,” Kerron Stokes, Broker and Real Estate Advisor with Remax leaders, said.

“If the person won’t meet you in person that’s a huge red flag. Always ask to meet the person at the property. The second, you always want to ask for their resume of the properties, either they manage, or previous tenants you can talk to about what that landlord is doing. The third, is you always turn to a realtor or licensed agent to help you vet that property. The fourth, if the property has been sitting vacant for a while – it’s worth you doing a drive by and you doing your own with the county assessor website our with the clerk,” Stokes said.

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