A real estate swindle was foiled and more than $115,000 was recovered due to the work of a Salisbury Township Police detective and a Lehigh County deputy district attorney.
Authorities provided details in the case in a news release dated Oct. 23.
On March 16, a person told Detective Diano Reavis “he was in the process of purchasing a property in Florida.”
The person explained he wired $115,214.67 “to what he believed was the title agency handling the sale of the Florida property.”
The buyer had been in email contact with the legitimate title agency throughout the real estate transaction process but had been contacted in a scam by someone using an email address nearly identical to the title agency, according to authorities.
Details on how to wire the money, said to be for closing costs, were sent by the scammer through the fake email address.
The buyer contacted his bank with details for the transfer to a Capital One account and the transfer was successfully concluded, according to the news release.
Before the money could be removed from the Capital One account the fraud was discovered.
The news release continues:
“On April 11, Reavis learned that the Capital One account was not connected to the title agency and had been frozen by authorities in Texas for similar fraudulent activity.”
A search warrant from Lehigh County Chief Deputy District Attorney Joseph R. Stauffer resulted in the return of the homebuyer’s funds from the frozen account.
The investigation surrounding the Capital One account continues in various law enforcement jurisdictions.
The Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office Elder Abuse Task Force can be reached at 610-782-3700.