January 18, 2022

Maryland Heights Residents

Crazy About Home & Real Estate

New Charges for Real Estate Agent Guilty in House-Flip Fraud

5 min read

From remaining: Yovany Serna and Vivian Rodriguez (Circuit Court docket of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida, iStock/Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Serious Offer)

A Miami few observed guilty this thirty day period in a $1.8 million home-flipping scheme now has far more trouble.

Vivian Rodriguez and her partner, Yovany Serna, have been slapped with new charges, this time about an alleged rental fraud, much less than two months immediately after their conviction.

Rodriguez, 53, and Serna, 52, ran the home-flipping ploy from June 2016 to December 2017, focusing on a Hialeah Gardens man, in accordance to their arrest affidavit. The duo earned his belief and promised him revenue. Rodriguez, who was a serious estate agent at the time, had worked on the deal in which the target purchased his own household, the 2018 affidavit suggests.

Rodriguez explained to him she would aid him select out low cost fixer-uppers to buy and Serna would repair service them, the affidavit says. Then they would provide the homes and share the profits.

The Hialeah Gardens guy place in $1.8 million to obtain about 30 homes, but they had been not even for sale, according to the affidavit.

Rodriguez was an agent with Hialeah-primarily based Trex Intercontinental Realty. She missing her license in March soon after failing to renew it, not mainly because of the fees, condition data display.

At the time the sufferer turned dubious and concerned, he retained an attorney and sued in Miami-Dade Circuit Court in December 2017.

The legal rates adopted. After a trial that ran from Dec. 6 to 10, a jury located Rodriguez and Serna guilty of revenue laundering, arranged fraud and grand theft in the first degree. Every single depend carries a optimum sentence of 30 several years.

Jorge Alonso, Rodriguez’s legal professional in the prison circumstance, reported the demo uncovered that she returned $400,000 to the Hialeah Gardens man and his wife but the remainder was misappropriated. The affidavit also suggests the sufferer was fleeced out of just above $1.4 million.

“I experimented with my most effective to have Vivian not testify and plead the Fifth, but she insisted,” Alonso explained. “She generally admitted that she owed these men and women the dollars. So there was not much I could do for her.”

Rodriguez and Serna continue to be in custody and awaiting a scheduling of their sentencing date. Serna’s legal professional did not comment.

A lot more issues

Rodriguez and Serna allegedly took up a diverse scam in November. A person told law enforcement that, desperately needing an apartment, he uncovered Rodriguez by a Facebook Market ad for a Hialeah effectiveness, according to a Dec. 22 arrest affidavit.

Following a walkthrough of the home with Rodriguez, he agreed to lease it and paid out the $1,000 money deposit Rodriguez asked for and gained a handwritten receipt. When his move-in date was delayed 2 times, he grew suspicious and went back to the performance wherever he identified other apartment hunters with the similar story as his, the affidavit states. On the place, they looked up Rodriguez and Serna on the internet and found news experiences of their house-flipping expenses.

Another arrest affidavit states Rodriguez and Serna compensated back again an additional victim’s deposit with $360 in hard cash and the rest with a check, which bounced. Residence information present neither Rodriguez nor Serna own the Hialeah property.

The wife and spouse ended up just about every charged with structured fraud and grand theft in the third diploma. Rodriguez was also billed with illegal use of a communications gadget, and Serna with conspiracy to commit grand theft of between $5,000 and $20,000, records clearly show.

The public defender representing Rodriguez and Serna did not right away return a request for comment.

The lawyer suing the pair for the household-flipping plan states their convictions help his circumstance. The match statements the fraud was a loved ones affair that also concerned Rodriguez’s son, Hotniel Crespo, and his wife, Marbelis Crespo, a genuine estate agent. Trex, the brokerage for which Rodriguez and Marbelis Crespo had been impartial contractors, is also a defendant.

The relatives portrayed the household-flipping as a crew energy, with Hotniel Crespo telling the purported target he and his wife also had set funds into the authentic estate, that he had absent to see the houses and that they all would be “very wealthy,” in accordance to the criticism.

The match statements that Rodriguez was educated in Trex’s “high-force income tactics” and that the brokerage lent her believability. Some of the conferences involving the sufferer and Rodriguez were being at Trex’s places of work and she had Trex-issued small business playing cards.

In a statement, Trex’s attorney claimed the brokerage did not know about the dealings and acquired no dollars from them.

“Trex experienced nothing at all to do with any of the fraudulent genuine estate transactions,” the legal professional, Jesus Bujan, reported. “Trex was not the listing agent nor the cooperating agent in any of the real estate attributes included.”

Court information display a fraud assert in the civil go well with against Trex was dismissed. The accommodate also accused the brokerage of breach of fiduciary obligation, and negligent retention and supervision.

The attorney for the Crespos did not promptly return a request for remark. Hotniel Crespo, reached by telephone, hung up. He submitted for individual bankruptcy in May well.

In a September court submitting, the Crespos denied the allegations versus them, indicating they have been also duped into thinking the investments were legit and that they had been victims of a Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Rodriguez.

Marbelis Crespo has sued Rodriguez, saying she sunk $400,000 into the house-flipping enterprise, leaving her and her spouse and children homeless. Crespo’s actual estate license remains active, state information present.

Douglas Jeffrey, the legal professional who 1st seemed into the alleged fraud and submitted the civil situation, is asking the individual bankruptcy court to not discharge any credit card debt Crespo allegedly owes the Hialeah Gardens victim. The movement argues Crespo knew or ought to have acknowledged that he was major the sufferer into a fraudulent plan.

Rodriguez, in the meantime, has tried to get the Crespos off the hook. She signed a court affidavit in August saying she induced them to place in $400,000 and they believed it was a respectable investment decision, understood practically nothing of what occurred to the money and did not knowingly engage in a purpose in the alleged fraud.

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