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

By
Real Estate Agent with Alain Pinel BRE 01367196
http://actvra.in/gwG

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 http://www.419scam.org/419people.htm

RED FLAGS:

  • 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.
 gards.
 
Mr. Fukuhara Kazuhiko
0034634035049
fukuhiko@asia.com

 

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

WATCH OUT!

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

close

Re-Blogged 6 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Maria Morton 06/01/2010 04:23 AM
  2. Dick and Dixie Sells 06/01/2010 06:08 AM
  3. Mesa, Arizona Real Estate Mesa Arizona Realtor 06/01/2010 12:04 PM
  4. Marzena Melby 06/09/2010 07:02 AM
  5. June Stark 06/11/2010 08:38 PM
  6. Vesna Kanacki 06/28/2010 02:14 PM
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"Whacked"!!!
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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,392,708
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

I just read something about this closer to home.  The thing that jumped out at me was  the "Japanese name, but talks about Chinese"

Jun 04, 2010 07:03 PM #14
Rainer
2,258
Jill Caffrey
William Raveis Real Estate - Scituate, MA

He contacted me as well.  The content was changed a bit.  He even sent a check in the amount of $180,000.  Does anyone know what the point of this scam is?

Dear Jill Caffrey, 


I am Mr. Fukuhara Kazuhiko and i will be retiring soon and I will be relocating to the U.S.A for Good, after searching the Internet for a reliable real estate agent I found your firm and its rating was so high and I have decided to choose your firm to buy my permanent home. 

I and my wife have went through your website and i am interested in this property MLS/ID: 71080493 located at 5 Collier Avenue Ext, Scituate MA 02066 in the amount of $865,000 and my offering price for the property is $855,000 Please note the property is going to be a cash buy because i have already discuss the purchase issue with my stock broker. Please kindly forward me a purchase contract agreement in docusign electronic way of signing ducoment format,i intend to be in your city in 4 weeks time from now. 

Please i await the purchase contract agreement in docusign electronic way of signing ducoment format. 


Yours Sincerely, 
Mr.Fukuhara Kazuhiko 
0034634035049 
fukuhara@asia.com

Sincerely,

Jun 05, 2010 10:00 AM #15
Rainmaker
1,392,708
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 10:04 AM #16
Rainmaker
661,190
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

ETC

Jun 07, 2010 04:58 PM #17
Rainmaker
661,190
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 05:31 PM #19
Rainmaker
264,277
Kristen Wheatley
The Maine Real Estate Network - Auburn, ME
Lewiston/Auburn Maine Real Estate Agent

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 08:51 PM #21
Rainer
2,258
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 10:49 AM #22
Rainer
1,488
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 10:48 AM #23
Rainmaker
135,240
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 03:03 PM #24
Rainmaker
277,798
Marianne Bandy
Denver Homes - The Bandy Team - RE/MAX Pros - Parker, CO
CRS, GRI, Certified Negotiation Specialist

This explains what we've been seeing lately, except the names have been different.  We've seen names like Tamiko Hanson [tamikohanson471@yahoo.com], 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: andystclair_cbllp@lawyer.com   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.

Beware!  

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 damian@chanzitlaw.com.   

Jul 22, 2010 05:38 PM #25
Rainmaker
661,190
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 05:54 PM #26
Rainmaker
364,744
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...........................................................

Regards,
Leo Sung

Jan 17, 2011 12:05 AM #27
Rainer
2,972
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 04:23 PM #28
Rainmaker
106,527
Debbie White
Prudential 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 12:49 PM #29
Rainmaker
661,190
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 07:15 PM #30
Rainmaker
109,799
Isabella Scott
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate - Boca Raton, FL
www.isabellascott.com

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 03:59 PM #31
Rainmaker
257,188
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 02:00 PM #32
Rainer
225
Dan Berube
PensacolaInformation.com Realty LLC - Pensacola, FL

Has anyone heard from her ... see below

Hello,  
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 yokuspan11@yahoo.co.uk.  Waiting to hear from you. 
Regards,
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.
 
Regards,
Yokus

Oct 03, 2011 12:09 PM #33
Rainmaker
661,190
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.

Beware!

Oct 03, 2011 02:48 PM #34
Rainer
2,800
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 10:33 PM #36
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Rainmaker
661,190

Pacita Dimacali

Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
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