Cash For Keys Scam Goes Bust

Real Estate Agent with 1st Action Real Estate

This is an update to last weeks post 'Fraudster Claims Inalienable Right to Scam'. A take off on  the well honed rental fraud scheme, this agent and the illegal occupiers had posted prominent signs warning authorities that they enjoyed the 'inalienable right to self-preservation to repel by force, self-defense and justifiable homicide'. (Understand this is in a neighborhood where nearby homeowners include the owners of the Sacramento Kings and other business luminaries of our state Capitol.)

Well, police were not in the least intimidated. Yesterday they visited the property and kicked their way into the home finding nobody around to answer the door. Today they announced the arrest of the real estate agent in what was apparently little more than another fraud scheme - cash for keys. The suspects, who may all be related, apparently thought that by occupying the property they could inveigle a payment from the bank to entice them to leave..

WRONG! Now they are hoping somebody comes along to pay their bail. We need to see more speedy resolutions and convictions to nip these scams in the bud. Nice job Sacramento PD. Thank you.

Real estate agent linked to Natomas rental booked into Sacramento jail

Published: Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009 <!-- CLOSE: #story_header -->

pp The real estate agent implicated in an alleged scheme to rent out a home she had no legal right to was booked into the Sacramento County Jail this morning on criminal trespass charges, jail booking records show.

Phillis Marie Powers, 54, is still undergoing the booking process and will face a $3,000 bail, records show. "Phillis turned herself in about 9 this morning," said police spokesman Norm Leong.

Powers and three others have been sought since Tuesday, when police issued trespass warrants in what they said was a "cash for keys" scheme in which the home was rented out to a couple about two weeks ago. Police believe the tenants and Powers, as well as the fourth suspect, are all related and had hoped to elicit a payment from the bank that owns the home in exchange for moving out.

Read the full story at:

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Gene Wunderlich - Selling Southwest California Homes including Temecula, Murrieta & The Southern California Wine Country
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Remember, Don't wait to buy real estate - Buy real estate and wait.
' Cash for Keys Scam Goes Bust.'
The opinions in this commentary are strictly Gene Wunderlich's personal opinions. While any reasonable and/or rational individual should agree wholeheartedly, the opinions reflected herein may not necessarily be those of SRCAR/GADBLOG, ActiveRain, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, The Valley Business Journal or any local or state government or other mental institution.

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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

If you have the stomach to follow this case, you'll probably find that the agent, IF someone files a written complaint, will receive a 3 month suspension of her license. 

Feb 12, 2009 06:07 AM #1
Trey Thurmond
BCR Realtors - College Station, TX
College Station , Texas Homes

Is that the onluy punishment.? That is nothing.  She deserves worse.

Feb 12, 2009 06:31 AM #2
Gene Wunderlich
1st Action Real Estate - Murrieta, CA
Realtor & Legislative Liaison

Lenn - If that. After all, this is really a nickel/dime scam. Who knows what law she has even broken. $3,000 bail? Not even a slap. It may never even get to our DRE and her license, if she has one, will remain intact. Sad but true.

I publish these only as a hope that others will see them and be able to avoid the scams. Unfortunately the chances of getting caught or severely disciplined are stacked in the perpetrators favor right now. We can only hope to influence that in some way.

Feb 12, 2009 06:37 AM #3
John Walters
Frank Rubi Real Estate - Slidell, LA
Licensed in Louisiana

Gene you have a new story everyday on fraud.  I don't think Louisiana is even close to you guys.  Maybe they know about California being ordered to release all those prisoners, and they feel they won't go to jail.

Feb 12, 2009 10:56 AM #4
Chris Oliver
Century 21, Preferred Properties - Reynolds Plantation, GA

You can't make this stuff up.

Feb 12, 2009 01:12 PM #5
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services

Gene- Hey off the subject, what do you think about Meg running for governor of CA?

Feb 12, 2009 05:33 PM #6
Gene Wunderlich
1st Action Real Estate - Murrieta, CA
Realtor & Legislative Liaison

John - we do seem to attract more than our share - us and Florida. But hey, we're happy to do our part.

Chris - I could make this stuff up but they'd accuse me of lying. I don't have the brain power necessary to even think up some of this stuff.

N & K - The jury's still out. I don't know that much about her personally other than her obvious success in business. While I think that would be a definite plus in running this state - which hasn't been run like a successful business in decades, I am also leary of political novices coming into the mix. Even Arnold had some good ideas when he first got in and he was reduced to a simpering girly-man by the unions and the liberals in short order.

Feb 13, 2009 07:38 AM #7
Wendy Richman

Right now I am being screwed on a "cash for keys" deal by Ocwen Bank out of India somewhere and REO Property Preservation Specialist - they are 18 days late in showing up to the property and then hired some moran to determine if the house was in proper order - he had major attitude and we had to call the cops. So they changed the locks and refused to give us our check. We sent pictures to the bank, Ocwen - to show the house is in proper order and they are actually trying to nit pic and say we left personal property, like a microwave that is a built in....this is apparently a running scam as there are 20 people in AZ who have a class action lawsuit against a bank or several banks who are refusing to release checks for keys, based on their opinion ? How is that fare....look at what all those other people did, broken windows, stripped the house of appliances and here we are an honest couple who took care of the property and are getting screwed - yet again! Our realtor committed fraud and was reported to the FBI, the house doesnt match county records so no one would refi and according to several investors, how the heck did it pass inspection originally - what a nightmare it has been! No one wants to help and now we are short on cash - yeah ! the hits just keep on coming. OH and the RPPS company took a personal stance to say that since I called him a jerk, he wasnt issuing the check and would send it back to the bank even though they told him to release it. Now the bank in India isnt responding. Does anyone have a way to blow this open and bring in other people who are getting screwed too? Its bad enough to lose your home, but then have to go through this - its just rediculous - where is Obama?

Apr 15, 2009 05:22 AM #8
Gene Wunderlich
1st Action Real Estate - Murrieta, CA
Realtor & Legislative Liaison

We have been hearing more about Ocwen recently. They have an interesting business model and information has been forwarded to California authorities to determine if they are running a legitimate outfit. Anybody else have any feedback on this?

Apr 15, 2009 06:49 AM #9

Yes!  I am currently being evicted from my home by Ocwen who bailed on us in the middle of our loan modification stating that we had withdrawn our application.  We did not withdraw it... they have never been able to produce any documentation showing that we actually did.  It took them 6 months of telling me that my application was "under review"... they couldn't get their act together then, so why is it that now that they have foreclosed my house they are so efficient in evicting me.  I have tried and tried for 2 months now to get someone in the REO department to speak with me to no avail.  I have left messages, sent e-mails, called every number I could get my hands on and even called theif "Office of the Consumer Ombudsman" and no one would talk to me.  NO ONE!!!! I am sick and disgusted with Ocwen!

Jun 24, 2010 05:42 PM #10
Paul Gapski
Berkshire Hathaway / Prudential Ca Realty - El Cajon, CA
619-504-8999,#1 Resource SD Relo

wow what people will do

Mar 07, 2011 05:59 PM #11
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