SCAM ALERT: cash buyer from out-of-area/country even provides "passport" and "proof of funds"

Real Estate Agent with Alain Pinel BRE 01367196

SCAM ALERT! Received inquiry about one of my listings.  But red flags were popping up all over the place.

When I researched the name, I was led to this site about scammers


  • CASH but needs 30 days to close?
  • Out of country
  • Email communications
  • Viewed and accessed the property previously, but not using an agent?
  • Japanese name, but talks about Chinese tradition
  • Provided "passport" and "proof of funds".
  • Address provided is for a property advertised for rent

Here's the communique

I and my wife have viewed and accessed the property properly located at 1533 Morton Street, Alameda CA 94501 and have also estimated $10,000.00USD as the earnest money deposit. Please you have to proceed in preparing a purchase contract agreement on the property listed above and I would appreciate it if you could forward the purchase contract agreement to me in a docusign format once the preparation is completed and as I have stated previously I will be in your city in 4 weeks time from now.

My current address is: 2000 Sheppard Ave. Toronto ON, M3N 2J1 and there will be no other additional name on the purchase contract please note my full name are: FUKUHARA KAZUHIKO. I am relocating to state permanently and regarding the closing date i will deffinately be there in person before on the 26th of June 2010 because i have also placed an order in Chinese home style furniture, Chinese style home entertainment, Chinese home decoration and Chinese kitchen appliance in China.
I love my tradition and I want my home to look like little China mansion.  
Please take note 30 days will be sufficient for the closing so please kindly prepare the purchase contract agreement in docusign format so that i can sign and initial them electronically.
Attached is a scan copy of my international passport and ID including statement of account copy as proof of funds for the transaction.
Please note the property is going to be cash buy, and i have already discuss with my stock broker  regarding the purchase and the initial deposit(EARNEST MONEY). Please below are the information my stock broker need to issue out the earnest money:
Contact Name:
Check Payeable To:
Contact Address/ Physical Address: 
Phone Number:
Once again thank you very much for your attention and assistance regarding my distance purchase. I await the purchase contract agreement in docusign format including the ESCROW COMPANY informations to enable my stock broker issue the payment out as soon as possible.
Mr. Fukuhara Kazuhiko


These guye are getting very good --- they even knew the key words like DocuSign


If it's too good to be true, it is!


Re-Blogged 6 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Maria Morton 05/31/2010 09:23 PM
  2. Dick and Dixie Sells 05/31/2010 11:08 PM
  3. Mesa, Arizona Real Estate Mesa Arizona Realtor 06/01/2010 05:04 AM
  4. Marzena Melby 06/09/2010 12:02 AM
  5. June Stark 06/11/2010 01:38 PM
  6. Vesna Kanacki 06/28/2010 07:14 AM
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Show All Comments
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

Jill Isn't it  usually when you get a check it is for more than what is needed...I don't see that here though.  then you make change before the fact that the  check is bogus is discovered and you are the one who is on the hook with the bank?  Something like that?

Jun 05, 2010 03:04 AM #16
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

What could possibly happen if we go along?

1. They sell our contact info to spammers

2. They waste our time corresponding with and chasing down the wind

3. We change the status of our listing to "pending" and possibly miss out on real and serious buyers

4. Depositing a check --- did it clear? If it bounced --- how will this be interprested by your seller who will then think you're foolish to fall for a scam like this, especially after having been forewarned

5. You may lose the listing once you're pegged as gullible and not resourceful in researching the validity of the offer


Jun 07, 2010 09:58 AM #17
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Jill --- so what happened after he sant the check? Did you open escrow?

He seems to be writing offers left and right, all over the country.

Jun 09, 2010 10:31 AM #19
Kristen Wheatley
Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group - Brunswick, ME
Supporting Success - Best Job in the World!

Wow, they were quick to pick up the jargon with Docusign.  I'm glad you pointed out googling names.  I do this with all potential clients I have not met yet.  You can sift through the scams and many times get some interesting info.

Jun 11, 2010 01:51 PM #21
Jill Caffrey
William Raveis Real Estate - Scituate, MA

We didn't cash it.  We realized it was a scam.  I sent it to our attorney.  


Jun 15, 2010 03:49 AM #22
Al Lindeman
RE/MAX Stars - Mount Vernon, OH

Different name but same play. I actually spoke to the account manager:

Thanks so much for your email, I will like to offer $340,000.00 on MLS#20100639 because I love the curb appeal of this property, please send me the contract use docusign format for me to sign and return immediately this will be my retirement home and it will be a cash buy   1. I will want to close on 15th July, 2010   2. I want to put down $5,000.00 Earnest money + $150,000.00 down payment towards home.   3. I want to put contingences on the contract I need inspection done on the house   My legal name is Noriko Ike of 2000 Sheppard Avenue, Toronto Ontario Canada M3N 2J1 and I am single, I will not be in Canada before the closing date to wire the funds to the closing attorney so I will advice you to send me the closing attorney information for a check to be drawn to give enough time for check clearance since I wont be in Canada to wire funds for closing.   My account manager Mr. Perry  Owen will Issue payment in US Funds $155,000.00USD for the earnest money and the down payment for the property payable to closing attorney, the check will deliver to the closing attorney.   My account manager Peter Smith can be reach at:1-905-598-5943   Please I need the following information for the closing attorney immediately   Closing Law Firm Name................................................... Law Firm Address....................................................... Law Firm Telephone......................................................   Lawyer's Name...........................................................   Regards   Noriko Ike

Jun 16, 2010 03:48 AM #23
Terry Iwaniw
Avalar Atlantic Properties - Sicklerville, NJ
Realtor - S NJ

Yes, I just received this from him, also.  But I replied to him asking him for a copy of a bank statement or money fund statement as proof of funds, seeing that he was going to be a cash buyer.  Also, he mentioned that his stock broker in the state was going to hndle the fund transfers.  Fine, I said, I need name and contact info.

Did I know he was running a scam?  Nope.  But I took the approach that he might be with the off-chance that he was legitimate but just didn't know how to proceed.

Always, always, always approach every e-mail contact with some amount of caution.

Jun 30, 2010 08:03 AM #24
Marianne Bandy
The Bandy Team - EXP Realty - Parker, CO
CRS, GRI, Certified Negotiation Expert

This explains what we've been seeing lately, except the names have been different.  We've seen names like Tamiko Hanson [], Wang Tao, HIRAO NORIAKI, Dr. Inoue Yuji, and this guy below even sent a name and ph. # of his supposed financial advisor:  

I am at present in Japan, it will not be possible to meet with you or to view any the property now. But you can contact my financial advisor in Canada Mr. Andrew St.Clair if you have any question at 1-289-888-2949 / Email:   What are the information that you will need to write the offer for the property?   Sincerely, Takeuchi Keigo          

These have all been since May 20 this year.

Also, I posted below a warning from the Colorado Board of Realtors about this real estate scam and what to look out for.


Bob Bandy
ReMax Professionals
Denver, CO        

More Real Estate Scams Come to Light

According to Damian Cox with the Law Office of Richard M. Chanzit many brokers recently have been contacted by foreign cash buyers (usually Canadian) claiming to be interested in a listed property even though the buyer has no legitimate interest in the property. While the scam can vary, some of the elements include: 

1. the buyer is a cash buyer;

2. the buyer may provide a bank statement showing funds;

3. the buyer may provide a passport;

4. the buyer may sign a buyer listing contract and a contract to buy and sell

5. the buyer may ask for an attorney referral;

6. the buyer may want to close quickly;

7. the buyer may not care to see/inspect the house. 

Based off research of the law firm these offers are NOT legitimate. If you enter into the contract to purchase property, the buyer will send you a fake earnest money check for $5000. The buyer will then later terminate the contract and ask you to return his earnest money. Some of the names they have seen include: Ding Li, Noriko Ike, Suzuki Eiji and Fang Fong. 

If your broker receives an email solicitation that sounds fishy, it probably is, but Google the name to check if other real estate brokers have posted comments about the alleged buyer before emailing the buyer. As always, brokers are encouraged to speak with their leadership about questions.

Please post this on your intranet and notify your brokers.

If you have additional questions please contact Damien Cox at 303-758-2200 or by e-mail at   

Jul 22, 2010 10:38 AM #25
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Just received a call from a realtor on the east coast. She wanted to know about Dr. Inoue Yuji. Told her to google this name and she will find a lot of blogs about this scam.

Apparently, she had scheduled an inspection of the property per Inoue's request who said his attorney will pay for it. Asked her if she received a check, deposited it and see if the funds are there. She said no check.

In this case, the only check she should do is online and google this man. The sad part is, there is a man with the same name and whos reputation is being destroyed by this scam artist.

This scammer has been very busy "buying" houses all over the U.S.

Jul 22, 2010 10:54 AM #26
Heather Tawes Nelson
Realty ONE Group - Scottsdale, AZ
Associate Broker, ABR, CLHMS, CRS - Scottsdale, AZ

Hi Pacita - Looks like they are still making the rounds on this one. Thanks so much for your blog warning others...

The contact came via Trulia and his name was "Tsai Machiko." However, when he was ready to write the offer, his name suddenly became "Leo Sung" and his attorney was "Eric Thompson." The names did not bring anything back when I searched on them, but when I searched his "address," my red flags were confirmed - SCAM!

Here is the email I received...

Hi Heather,
I will like to offer $1,700,000-1,995,000, MLS XXXXXXX of XXXXX E WXXXX SXX DR Scottsdale, AZ. because I love the curb appeal of this property, please send me the contract for me to sign and return immediately this will be my retirement home and it will be a cash buy.

1. I will want to close on 16 February, 2011
2. I want to put down $50,000.00 Earnest money
3. I want to put contingency on inspection on the contract.

My legal name is Leo Sung of 2000 Sheppard Avenue, Toronto Ontario Canada M3N 2J1 and I am single, I will not be in Canada before the closing date to wire the funds to an attorney so I will advice you to send me an attorney information for a check to be drawn to give enough time for check clearance since I wont be in Canada to wire funds for closing.

Please forward I a purchase contract agreement in docusign format, docusign format an electronic way of signing document.

My Canadian rep Mr. Eric Thompson Esq. will Issue payment in US Funds for the earnest money for the property payable to your attorney, the check will be deliver to your attorney.

Mr. Eric Thompson Esq. can be reach at: 1-647-835-4593, I strongly advice that I need an attorney in your state to represent my interest in this transaction, so therefore I would like to deposit all payment with the lawyer.

Please I need the following information from your attorney for immediately payment

Law Firm Name...................................................
Law Firm Address.......................................................
Law Firm Telephone......................................................
Lawyer's Name...........................................................

Leo Sung

Jan 16, 2011 04:05 PM #27
Michael Robertson
Pacific Union International - San Francisco, CA

Not sure what these guys end game is other than to waste our time.

Feb 03, 2011 08:23 AM #28
Debbie White
Southeast Alaska Real Estate - Juneau, AK

They just tried Alaska too, using a different name.  Sent a "check" to the title company for $350,000.  Same scam, different location.

According to my title company representative, what happens next is they wait for you to deposit the check.  As soon as that happens, the "buyer" has an emergency and needs the funds transfered back to them.  If a title company is not careful, they will return the funds before they find out the check was a fake.  They are getting better and better.  We need to be more careful than ever.

Feb 24, 2011 04:49 AM #29
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Had to write up another blog referring to this post. Apparently, it's still going on, and it seems to have intensified the last few weeks. I've received so many emails and phone calls from people who said they encountered this cash buyer.

The latest?The buyer wanted the agent to engage agent's own lawyer for the process. And then what? Who ends up paying the lawyer fees?

Feb 25, 2011 11:15 AM #30
Isabella Scott
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate - Port St Lucie, FL
South Florida & Treasure Coast Luxury Homes/Condos

Looks like the scam is still going around in March 2011!!     I had an email from Shiukmoda Joji, he was in Japan right now but wanted to find a retirement property.   I sent him some searches and he responded this morning that he liked one and wanted to make an offer.  It sounded weird that he wanted to do this deal before seeing it and he wasn't going to be here.  He just sent me another email with the same wording but different property and mls number.  That was really strange so I googled the attorney name Eric Thompson and found your post.  I'm stopping right now!  Thanks for the info!

Mar 09, 2011 07:59 AM #31
Greg Steffens
Mountain Country Realty - Lake Arrowhead, CA

Still going on in April 2011!  I received email from Qi Lee (and wife Sue Lee).  They provided me with the EXACT bank statement shown in your post (just with names, address and dates changed).  I never, however, received a check or any sort of funds.  I still can't figure out how they planned to pull this off.  Lame!!!

May 09, 2011 07:00 AM #32
Dan Berube Realty LLC - Pensacola, FL

Has anyone heard from her ... see below

I am Yokus Pan from Japan.  I will be relocating to the United States with my family very soon after my retirement, and I intend buying a home before I come over.   I will like you to send me a listing of properties with 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms within the price range of $500,000.00 to $1,200,000.00 with a nice view and garage, in a nice neighborhood in your city and state.  Communication via email will be better as my spoken English is very poor.Contact me on  Waiting to hear from you. 
Yokus Pan

and her answer

Dear Dan,,
I am in receipt in receipt of your email. After a careful study of the listings, please note that I am intrested in buying property with MLS #:411467 and I
intend paying $900,000 cash for it. Do let me know about all I need to know about the house, to enable us finalise things.
I await your email.

Oct 03, 2011 05:09 AM #33
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Dan ---

Yokus Pan from Japan, but her email address is from England.

Interested in buying a house sight unseen, at this price.

Sounds like the same scenario as previously described scams...they may have changed the play since the previous one was exposed.


Oct 03, 2011 07:48 AM #34
kendall martin

Thanks for this post. I find it very interesting. There are different kinds of scams, it may be in the form of cash, gift, or prize from unsolicited raffle. The very best way to stay away from scams is to always be cautious in your spending, but it is not always possible. Scammers typically have great ways to steal your money and can sweet-talk individuals into giving it up. It pays to be very vigilant to avoid scams like that.

May 27, 2014 03:33 PM #36
Carlos Martes
Keller Williams Real Estate - Bethlehem, PA

Same scam attempt made on me in the past fer days.

Read these links to learn about it.


Aug 14, 2015 08:15 AM #37
Tina Balch, ABR
Realty Source Inc. - San Diego, CA

2015 and it's still going on!!! 

First of all...his email didn't matched up from the very first email he sent me:


First email used: Mr. Masahiro Nakata <>

An email that originated in Europe area... 1st clue!

Then he started using a generic email: Masahiro Nakata <>

An email that does not matched his name....2nd clue!

Then he send you email like this:

Masahiro Nakata

Sep 28
to me
I am not too familiar with the area that is why I need your help as the real estate professional, please send me a list of finish home to chose from in a very nice & quiet community I am going to live in this home with my family, please send me some of your listing to choose from, a single family home, 2-4 bed 2bath  1,000sqft, price range starting from $400,000 to $650,000 in a nice & quiet community. Please no short sales and no foreclosure property
Masahiro Nakata
So after many hours of email trying to figure out what they want...set them up on MLS to receive listing notification...
1 day later...should have been the 3rd clue!! (no one buy that super fast without even looking at the home, or having someone from their family/friends see the home!) 

Masahiro Nakata

AttachmentsSep 29
to me
Thank you for your respond to my mail, this property listed MLS #:150052214/$598,900/ is of my interest and I and my wife will like to put in an offer to purchase. we will like to retain the service of an attorney in this transaction to handle the financial part of this purchase and also to represent my interest at the closing on this chosen property. Please recommend an attorney for me. Because of time difference, it may not be possible for me to reach the attorney on the telephone during business hour. we will like to ask you to contact the attorney on my behalf or send me their email address so that we can introduce myself to them regarding this transaction. we will be very delightful if you can send to my attention the documents (the purchasing contract offer) that require my signatures via electronic signature software like DocuSign or any other software because we do not have a scanner at home. Attached is a copy of my bank statement as a proof of funds for this transaction. Below are the information’s you will need before you can write the purchasing contract.
1). Name: Mr.Masahiro Nakata and Mrs.Jodi Nakata
 Address: Higasi-Mikuni 3-9-3-513,
Yodogawa-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 532-0002 Japan
2). It is cash buy on the property. Will like to make an Offer: $588,000
3). and Closing date: 30 of  November, 2015.
4). I will like home inspection to be done on the property.
5). Please note the first payment is going to be paid by a cashier’s check. <<what the heck it this???first payment for what? obviously don't know what he's talking about or trying to be naive so we go along>>

Masahiro Nakata
Before I wrote the offer....i tried to ask him SEVERAL call me, call me cause I'd rather we talk over the phone and discuss offer terms. He kept saying "I'm in a conference and can't talk" ...that's when I didn't get a good feeling about ALL THIS cause if i'm buying a matter how busy I am, I will make time to talk to the realtor who's helping me facilitate the offer!
I've had foreign asian clients and something doesn't matched up! This type of clients LIKE TO ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS before they buy into a home!! ---4th clue!! He never asked to many questions and I send him long email and reply with "Yes, go ahead, write the offer" so something's fishy already at this point!
I tried to play along to see where this will take and what would he get out of this....and finally I know why!! He kept refer an attorney (no matter how I explain CA does not need attorney, we use escrow) I finally cave in and gave my attorney's information...and GOOD THING my attorney is abreast with this type of thing ...and he said, he collected TONS OF FAKE CHECKS over the years~ and it's a predominant practice for real estate scammers. The target is not realtors (our is just a waste of time because we don't handle funds, thank God, and all they need is conduit to get to the attorney). They send checks (say for this instance, he sent $100,000 checks to handle deposit and inspection etc...even to a point he's talking about purchasing furnishings for the home and didn't wanna pay online but use the attorney to disburse the funds) so attorney will deposit check (while it's pending to clear, buyer will ask attorney to wire back difference that were not used) ...while check is pending, attorney could wire back some funds and after few days checks will not clear (bounce) then they already sent some funds back to scam buyer...and will forever disappear. It does happen that's why it's still going around. ATTORNEY's in US should take heed cause not until they can be duped then this will keep happening!
...and of course! they had proof of funds and passport too (by the way, everything you guys attached here have similar look for this 2 document) ~ thank you Pacita for posting this blog cause I found it before I get into deep with this guy (but I did play along in the end so I can find out what they're up to)...
Nakata Passport
Nakata CIBS
Oct 14, 2015 12:48 PM #38
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