Real estate practitioners are often slow in adapting to new technologies. I understand why--most successful real estate professionals spend very little time in an office, much less say in front of a computer.
But this is a compelling reason why you should keep up to date with basic technologies: SAFETY. Real estate practitioners have often been encouraged to follow safety guidelines when dealing with a potential client, such as making a copy of their drivers' licenses before driving them around.
Allow me to offer another step. GOOGLE ANY POTENTIAL CLIENT.
This is certainly something that Casey Serin's lenders, realtors, and other lien-holders should have done. Because some of them may have just been 'doing their jobs', but that will be a hard row to hoe when the authorities sort the difference between them and the co-conspirators.
I am loath to give this guy any more publicity. But suffice to say that we at The RE Forum have joined the list of folks who have contacted law enforcement agencies about this con artist. We have forwarded information to the U.S. Attorney's Office, FBI, the District Attorney and Police Departments of each relevant property. We know that others have already contacted the IRS.
Unfortunately, if you're a real estate professional and haven't heard of Casey Serin, you're doing yourself a great disservice.
In short, Casey's story goes like this: In 2006, at the age of 24, Casey Serin acquired at least 8 (known) properties in 4 states. He committed mortgage fraud to obtain the loans by lying about owner-occupancy, lying about his income (he had quit his job), inflating the value of the properties, and getting cash back at close. By his own admission, the banks were not aware of his cash-back schemes, where he received anywhere from $15,000-$50,000 per closing.
The properties that Casey Serin has admitted to owning (there may be more) are:
??? Calla Way, Sacramento, CA SOLD
6842 Burdett Way, Sacramento, CA 95823 FACING FORECLOSURE
6021 Guadalajara Dr NE, Rio Rancho, NM 87144 FACING FORECLOSURE
??? Sonora Ave, Albuquerque, NM SOLD
1910 Muncy Drive, Modesto, CA 95350 FACING FORECLOSURE
6656 W 10250 N, Highland, UT 84003 MULTIPLE ATTEMPTS TO WRAP
6500 Larchmont Dr, North Highlands, CA 95660 FORECLOSED
9524 Angleridge Rd, Dallas TX 75238 FORECLOSED
Those "cash back" monies were used in a classic pyramid scheme. Each closing brought more money to keep loans current on his existing properties. They also allowed Casey Serin and his wife Galina Serin to live an extravagant lifestyle. Casey and Galina Serin blew through the money quickly, and within months he was facing foreclosure on all 8 properties.
With deflating markets in many of the areas where Casey Serin bought homes, he has been unable to "flip" them as he intended and is now $2.2 million in debt. Serin hopes to file for bankruptcy to avoid paying his debts, but has been advised that the fraudulent manner in which they were acquired means that he will almost certainly be prosecuted for felony fraud.
While this is all interesting, this is why you should be very aware of this story. Casey Serin is today still trying to make real estate deals. As he is a multi-state offender, Casey Serin may appear in your office in some form.
Casey Serin repeatedly makes reference in his blog to making offers on other homes, and is reportedly even shopping for an apartment complex. So he may be contacting residential and commercial brokerages.
Watchful observers have pointed out that Casey Serin has used several aliases and known associates. Some of these may be straw buyers; others may be simply a front to hide his own identity. He and his wife have also registered two known DBA's.
It is also known that Casey used the name Alesky Serin in 1997 to run his first pyramid scheme--at the ripe old age of 14!!!
Per Casey Serin's own admissions through his blog, here are some other names you should know:
KNOWN ALIASES, POTENTIAL CO-CONSPIRATORS, POTENTIAL STRAW BUYERS:
Casey Konstantin Serin, Casey Serin's full name.
Galina Serin, Casey's wife, maiden name Suprun.
Finch Properties, Owned by Casey Serin and Galina Serin
Able Buyer, Owned by Casey Serin and Galina Serin
Alesky Serin (Casey's father. Casey has reportedly bought and/or transferred properties to this name) Sacramento, CA. Other known cities: Fair Oaks CA, Rancho Cordova CA
Anna Serin (Casey's monther. Casey has reportedly bought and/or transferred properties to this name) Sacramento, CA. Other known cities: Fair Oaks CA, Rancho Cordova CA
Nigel Swaby, Mortgage Broker, Integrity First Financial, Salt Lake City, UT. Other known cities: Sandy UT, Salem OR, Portland OR, Beaverton OR
Duane LeGate, President, House Buyer Network, Atlanta, GA. Other known cities: Marietta GA, Midland GA, Columbus GA, Orange Park FL, Cedar Grove WV
Paul Prestwich, Secure Tomorrow - Asset Protection, Sacramento, CA
One of these associates has said that Casey Serin has recently partnered with a California "investor" referred to as simply "G". They traveled to Salt Lake City together, and it is unclear if the duo were reconciling Casey's existing properties or searching for new ones.
Casey Serin typically used smaller, independent lenders. No doubt he thought that his approach might be caught by larger, nationwide lenders. If you have had any real estate dealings with Casey Serin, we encourage you to contact authorities immediately.
As con artist Casey Serin continues to weave a web of deceipt and leave a trail of debt in his wake, you will not only be saving other potentailly defrauded lenders. At this point, a proactive call to police will also help authorities separate those who unknowingly assisted Casey from his willing co-conspirators.