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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

An impostor tried to sell a Winter Park home that he didn't own

Posted By on Tue, Aug 3, 2021 at 2:42 PM

click to enlarge IMAGE VIA ADOBE STOCK
  • Image via Adobe Stock

Anyone who can take advantage of our overheated real estate market is doing so. And that includes people who don't own any property.

An unknown person posed as the owner of a home in Winter Park, attempting to sell the house without the consent of the real owner.

The bold fraudster person contracted the services of ERA Grizzard Real Estate to sell the property, but the fishiness of the whole operation was sniffed out before a sale was made.

Marc Winchester, the real owner of the house, was out of state at his second home when caretakers told him that the locks on the property had been changed and their keys no longer worked. Winchester checked his video footage from the home's cameras and saw an unknown woman and man walking through his house.

Winchester caught a flight back home and filed a police report.

Two days after he arrived at his home, he saw two realtors approaching his home with a photographer to put the house up for sale.

"His endgame was clearly to sell our house," Winchester told WKMG. "Perhaps [the imposter] would not make it all the way to closing, where real identification might be required. But at least he could collect a substantial deposit."

The fake Winchester had been communicating with the realtor (the woman Winchester saw on his video footage) through WhatsApp messages and email and told her to change the locks because he did not have a key.

"My understanding is that there was never any face-to-face contact and there was never any valid governmental proof of identity provided," Winchester told the news station.

"We regret that this incident occurred, and we have taken immediate steps to advance the education and awareness of our agents and employees so as to avoid its recurrence," owner Thomas "Gus" Grizzard said. "We are grateful that there was no loss of money or property."

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