Who Put Those CRIMINALS in Your Rental Home? OH! You Did?

Property Manager with Gibson Management Group, Ltd.

Our local media is buzzing about a raid local authorities made on an UPscale home in an established neighborhood adjacet to the University of Virginia.

On the heels of the Boston Marathon Bombings * seeing SWAT teams in this quiet area was chilling for local residents.

What is even more chilling is that the rental residents of the home - several single/UNrelated males with multiple vehicles with differet state license plates - were making FAKE IDs and that the authorities had had them on their RADAR for almost 6 months based on a sting of faux IDs being mailed from a local post office box.

In addition to equipment for making fake IDs, the authorities found 18 GUNS!

When interviewed by local authorities * the local BUILDER and his REAL ESTATE AGENT wife indicated....they rented the home to a man who identified himself as XXXX YYYY.  He alwsys PAID IN CASH, mentioned he housed a LARGE SAFE there and said he ONCE PAID $60,000 in CASH for a vehicle. The property owner said that during a maintenance visit in December, 2011, they observed a ROOM "fortified by (the tenant) with several BOXES OF LATEX GLOVES"

The landlords also indicated that their tenant USED MULTIPLE NAMES and IDENTIFYING information.



I have added the CAPITAL letters in these DIY Landlords' printed interviews as RED FLAGS for their SCREENING PROCESS.

They now have 1) upset neighbors; 2) a stigmatized property; 3) an eviction of those residents NOT CURRENTLY IN JAIL; 4) lots of property damage probably not covered by their insurance; and 5) NO INCOME or CASH COMING IN because the AUTHORITIES HAVE IT ALL.

LANDLORDING and PROPERTY MANAGEMENT are HARD......it takes diligence, resources and HARD WORK....seeing past the FLASH WAD OF CASH, FANCY CARS and prospects with a SILVER TONGUE area ALL part of the SCREENING PROCESS. 


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  1. Lynn B. Friedman 05/16/2013 11:17 AM
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Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

Bet some $$ that they saw the 'signs' but could care less because of the cash. Probably charged above market rent too. No mention of a criminal BG check on these less than fine citizens.

May 16, 2013 11:16 PM #30
Joy Baker
RE/MAX Insight - Salem, NH
So NH RE & Short Sale Specialist

The tenant bragging about his safe and that he paid for a $60K vehicle in cash could be written off as someone blowing their own horn but how did the landlord not see the fact that his tenant used multiple names and identifying information and had a "fortified" room in his apartment as a huge red flag?

May 16, 2013 11:37 PM #31
Andrea Curtis United Country Premier Properties Certified Military Relocation Professional
United CountryPremier Properties - Harker Heights, TX

As I stated in another post I DON'T do property management.  With my past experience and just noting what goes on with tenants in my current office they will say and do anything to get in.  There are some things that give away the more "shysty" tenants....but I can tell you stories of tenants who were professional. always dressed well, great car, professional job, paid on time had great references (this one kills me) even from former landlords.   They left the property in horrible shape inside.   I would say pigs but that would offend pigs.   Saying all that,  just reading your post shows there were quite a number of red flags that the agent wife should have picked up on.   I will try to think positively like Carla #9 maybe they left wads of cash behind and they will find it when they clean up the place..

May 16, 2013 11:42 PM #32
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Wallace, I guess paying rent was not the issue ;) But boy you think your radar would be up.

May 16, 2013 11:45 PM #33
Theresa Akin

I don't even show potential tenants a property unless I know a few things right from the phone call. I remember a guy coming into a prior brokerage  I worked , who had enough cash to pay for a year's rent plus security deposit, pet deposit, and utilities. He wanted to pay everything up front. The property manager told him, they never took cash and he would have to go through a background check. The guy looked to be no more than 20 years old max. The house he was interested in was $1900.00 a month and only small (no more than 10#s) were allowed. No "fighting breeds". All the red flags were there waving boldly and brightly. That wasn't the end of the story though. In the other room one of the agents was working with a client who happened to be in uniform (police) and just stopped by quickly to sign papers. His car was out front. When the officer left he ran the tag number and made an arrest right there after calling for backup.  The money was bogus and the car was not matching the tag. They didn't get the rental, needless to say. The officer only heard part of the conversation about having enough cash for a years rent.  

May 16, 2013 11:53 PM #34
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

Maybe a desperate builder needing money was blinded by cash, even though they should have had a good idea of what was going on in that house. They sure had plenty of clues.

May 16, 2013 11:54 PM #35
Michael J. O'Connor
Diamond Ridge Realty - Corona, CA
Eastvale - 951-847-4883

Like others have said, it can be difficult to detect true problem tenants from those who are just a little bit off base but would still be worthy tenants.  I agree that multiple names and IDs would be items of concern and would warrant a good vetting.

To be honest, I'm a little confused by some of the other items that you've mentioned as flags such as guns, the safe, the fortified room, the multiple cars and additional unknown parties.  Aren't these things that would have happened AFTER the decision to rent and really aren't part of the screening-out process?  And rent payments in cash are not necessarily a problem and probably more common than you might think.  

Obviously these clowns created a problem but the only pre-rental signals that you've indicated are the IDs & names.

May 17, 2013 12:19 AM #36
Suzanne Otto
Six Twenty Designs - Lansdale, PA
Your Montgomery County PA home stager

LOTS of red flags. If someone is boasting about having that much cash, why are they renting??

May 17, 2013 01:30 AM #37
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

I think it's very hard to outsmart the "career criminals." They always seem to be a step ahead of the rest of us. It seems the best we can do is learn from each situation and adjust our approach, but if someone is really intent on doing something criminal they'll usually manage to get away with it for a while. I think that's because those of us who are honest, don't have enough hours in the day to be thinking like the criminals and designing scams. We're too busy leading our honest lives.

May 17, 2013 01:46 AM #38
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

I think comment #38 is very realistic and practical. The truth is, anyone of us could be scammed. They're that good.

May 17, 2013 02:54 AM #39
Michelle Chauvin
Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas and Henderson, NV

Theresa Akin (comment #34), that's an awesome story of Karma. I love that story.

May 17, 2013 03:15 AM #40
Pat & Wayne Harriman
Harriman Real Estate, LLC (203) 672-4499 - Wallingford, CT
Broker/Owners, Wallingford CT Real Estate

Yeah, there weren't a lot of red flags there, were there? I mean, I'm sure there's a logical explanation for all of this, right? NOT. I'll bet, like someone else said, the landlords couldn't look past the dollar signs to do a good background check of his affluent tenants-to-be...

May 17, 2013 03:48 AM #41
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

The multiple names and ID would be a big red flag, but I agree with those who mentioned that the ID making equipment wouldn't have been mentioned before they moved in.

The original tenant also probably didn't disclose that he would have so many people living there, and I'd think that under the terms of a normal agreement, he could have been evicted for that.

As for 18 guns - that alone is not a sign of criminal intent unless these people fit the profile of terrorists. (Which we're not supposed to notice, of course.)

I know many people who own more than 18 guns, and they're all law abiding citizens.

I agree with you that in today's society, doing a background check is a wise thing. I wonder what it would have shown about this tenant?

May 17, 2013 05:11 AM #42
Michael Blue
Home Smart Realty West - Encinitas, CA
REALTOR - 760-889-8877, Encinitas/Carlsbad
A little screening will go a long way. The red flags....those mean no sorry your application has been not been approved. My brother kept renting our 9 units to people w/o jobs, on drugs, no bank accounts. I was called in to help get it under control, I adked him why he was renting to these people? We need the income, he would say, mind you they were not paying rent because....you guessed it, no job, on drugs...I simply adked "hows that been working out"!
May 17, 2013 05:35 AM #43
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Your analogy is unreasonable and incredulous. If that were true,anybody that sold a property to someone who uses that property to commit a crime would be held responsible for their actions, in essence abetting the criminal act. So, if I sell or rent my car to you for cash regardless of the sum and you kill someone driving because you're intoxicated, I'm going to be stigmatized because I should have known about your mental or physical condition, really? 

May 17, 2013 06:32 AM #44
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

There were so many signs.  What were the landlords thinking?  Did they run a background check before leasing? Property managers are are worth their weight in gold!

May 17, 2013 01:17 PM #45
Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F

Amazing what happens when people fail to screen their tenants.  Just because someone has the ability to pay does not mean you want to rent to them.

May 18, 2013 01:22 AM #46
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Wallace, that is why we always use a national credit and background screen and lawyer generated lease.

May 18, 2013 03:24 AM #47
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease


Critical factor is the right tenants.  If something seems fishy, it probably is.  I am sure they realized this, but looked the other way.  That will cost them more than finding the right tenants ever would have.  

What is sad is the executive leasing market is strong, so bad choices are really painful when they could have easily been avoided.

All the best, Michelle

PS - I know they wouldn't have gotten into your one of your properties!

May 19, 2013 10:04 AM #48
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I guess the monthly cash payment was just too much to resist.  Foolish move.  Thanks for the post.

May 20, 2013 10:11 AM #49
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