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Woman loses $562,000 in Florida real estate scheme

A former Florida real estate broker has been sentenced to nearly six years in federal prison for his involvement in defrauding an investor of more than $500,000.

The 38-year-old man, who worked in real estate in Cape Coral, also must pay restitution of $562,407. He was found guilty in June of wire fraud, money laundering and false oath in relation to a bankruptcy proceeding.

At his trial, his scheme was exposed.

He met the victim, who was a retired teacher originally from Pennsylvania, and talked her into investing $300,000 in his plan to buy houses, fix them and resell them at a profit in 2015. Instead, it was shown in court that he lost part of the money to gambling and spent the rest on things for himself, including a Porsche 911, a Rolex watch and a down payment on his home in Cape Coral.

He spent her initial investment in just seven weeks, then went back to her for more money in August 2015. She gave him another $261,000, reportedly to put into a new home construction company. Prosecutors said he lost most of the money at the Seminole Indian Casino in Immokalee, Florida.

The woman wound up suing him to get the money back, at which time the man declared bankruptcy to avoid repayment. He also lied under oath about what happened to her money.

This woman undoubtedly thought she was making a good investment that could help her in her retirement. Any real estate-related contract – or contract in general -- should be reviewed by an experienced attorney, however, to spot potential red flags.

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