Real estate scam robbed Florida mom of $ 63,000 savings



A mother of two talks about how she fell victim to a real estate scam that left her $ 63,000 in savings. buying a home travel

Patricia Verlino, a resident of South Florida, thought she was making a down payment for her. dream House on which she spent years working and saving for her. Unfortunately for her, someone seemed to have infiltrated the process and used an elaborate scheme to steal the money.

Patricia Verlino spoke to Fox News about what she called a “dark” situation, explaining that it was “the worst thing you can go through.”

Verlino worked multiple jobs for many years in order to save $ 63,000 and make a down payment on an apartment for her and her daughters.

When it came time to make the down payment, she received an email from the title company with instructions on how to send a bank transfer.

It was only after she had already moved into the apartment that she learned that the letter was fake and that the title company had never received the down payment.

Kevin Thacher, owner of Independence Title Insurance Company, is working with Verlino to try to get the money back. Although his company was not initially involved in the sale of the house, he is still working to help Verlino get back what she can and hopefully keep her apartment.


Thacher explained to Fox News that someone probably hacked into one of the email accounts at the real estate company and tracked her emails to see when a customer would be willing to make a down payment.

Whoever sent the email had access to all the information they needed, including the address, the real estate agent’s name, all important dates, and the amount of the down payment.

Verlino said that she reported the incident to the police. Fortunately, she said she was able to return $ 34,000 before the transfer was completed. The rest of the money, however, may be gone forever.

One of the worst moments for her, she said, was that two days after moving into the house that was supposed to be home, she passed out.

“You think it’s over [saying]“That’s all – no papers, I got a house,” added Verlino.

If Verlino cannot clear up the situation, she may have to move out of her new home.

According to her and Thacher, the title company through which she was supposed to send money has not brought anything but an apology. Thacher explained that the title company could file an insurance claim to help Verlino, but that hasn’t happened so far.


Thacher gave the following expert advice to avoid potential home buying scams:

1. Always check your contact information directly, not just call a number or send a signed email.

2. Realtors should deal with the home, but when it comes time to deal with the title company, talk to them directly.

3. Never send money without first checking the information directly with the person to whom you are going to send it (if this means a personal visit to the office, do it).

4. Finally, always send information using secure methods only, and be sure to use 2-Step Verification for any email or messaging service to prevent hackers from logging in without your knowledge.


Verlino is not sure what will happen. Her family, who lives in Argentina, offered to help. Unfortunately, she said, they themselves have little money.

Verlino explained that when her mother asked how she could help, Verlino only asked for a hug. A GoFundMe page titled “Help Patricia’s Family Get a Home” was created to try and fill her missing money.


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