AG Cooper stops sham realtors from misleading homeowners
Release date: 3/27/2004
Raleigh: Attorney General Roy Cooper today announced a judgment to stop land trust schemers who convinced Charlotte-area homeowners to give up titles to their homes but not their responsibility for mortgage payments.
“When these so-called real estate agents said they could sell homes fast, homeowners believed them,” said Cooper. “Instead, sellers got lured into a scheme where the homes never sold and only the scammers made any money.”
Under an agreement made binding late yesterday by Wake County Superior Court Judge Osmond Smith, Infinite Property Investments of Mecklenburg County, its president Kevin Plotner and his wife, Rebecca Plotner, also known as Rebecca Valentine, agreed to stop deceiving consumers, quit brokering real estate without a license, void all contracts and deed all properties back to their original owners. The consent judgment resolves allegations made by Cooper and the North Carolina Real Estate Commission in a suit filed earlier this month.
According to the complaint, the Plotners began Infinite Property in March of 2002 after Kevin Plotner attended an out-ofstate seminar on how to make money on real estate without having to spend any money. The Plotners advertised for Infinite Property by posting deliberately misleading signs along highways stating, “We Buy Houses” and passing out flyers proclaiming, “We’ll Buy Your Home in 7 Days.” Consumers called Infinite Property expecting that the company would purchase their homes. However, the Plotners instead enticed consumers to sign over their titles into a trust, telling them that Infinite Property would make payments on the existing mortgage while the company sought a buyer for their home. According to the Plotners, consumers signed over titles to approximately 15 properties.
Cooper contends that Infinite Property assumed no liability for the mortgages and failed to tell consumers that they would be responsible if the Plotners did not keep up with the payments. Some homeowners found out that mortgage payments were not being made as promised when the bank notified them that that their loans were past due or threatened to foreclose.
As alleged in the complaint, the Plotners promised to sell consumers’ homes quickly. Instead, the company found renters for the properties and used the rental income to make payments on the seller’s existing loan. To rent the homes, tenants were required to make a substantial upfront payment as deposit on an option to buy. In most cases, the tenants did not qualify to purchase the homes. In at least one case, the Plotners told the seller that their house would sell soon, while they told the tenant that he could stay in the house as long as he wanted and not to worry about whether he would be able to get a loan to buy the property.
“If you’re looking to sell your home, beware of companies that promise results that sound too good to be true,” said Cooper, “And if you’re looking to start your own real estate business, don’t fall victim to get-rich-quick seminars.”