SWFL real estate scheme gets $300K dollars after tricking at least 45 people

Reporter: Emma Heaton Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:
SWFL real estate scheme
SWFL real estate scheme tricks dozens. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Investigators say, Tabria Josey, a 20-year-old woman, was involved in a big Southwest Florida real estate scheme. Josey allegedly stole almost $300k dollars from at least 45 victims in Lee and five other counties.

Investigators haven’t said whether Josey worked alone or as part of a larger and complex real estate scheme.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent Supervisor for the Fort Myers Office, Tracy Maurer says “There were a lot of people taken advantage of and a lot of different identities that were used.”

Special Agent Maurer explained the outline of the scheme. Josey listed multiple properties for sale on many different real estate websites. When a victim said yes to buying Josey acted like a title agent and faked the closing. The real owners never knew a thing.

“A fraudster can create an entire virtual world,” Maurer says. “They can create an alias, they can create a business, they can create phone numbers, websites, email addresses, everything that can make this business appear to be legit.”

WINK News spoke with a Cape Coral woman who almost got trapped in a similar real estate scheme. In the police report, she told detectives she saw a home listed for rent on Craigslist, for $1,000 dollars a month. The price was too good to be true. Instead of calling the name on the listing, she found the owners.

Speaking anonymously, the woman from Cape Coral said “I spoke to them. They’re actually renting the home for $2,200 dollars a month.”

Special Agent Maurer told WINK News, that anyone can check who owns a property on the Lee County Property Appraiser website. You can make a call and determine for yourself if a real estate sale or rental is legitimate.

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