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Police have arrested a Parlier, Calif., woman for allegedly trying to dupe home buyers out of thousands of dollars by pretending to be a real estate agent.
Maria Flores-Morales, 39, is accused of bilking more than $110,000 from alleged victims who say she promised to help them buy a home. Police say undocumented people who had no experience purchasing a home were targeted in the scheme. Officials believe there could be more victims and are working with neighboring police departments to investigate.
Police are accusing Flores-Morales of showing potential buyers the outside of the homes that were still occupied and then allegedly telling them that she would purchase the home for them, but they needed to pay her for the down payment. Buyers who paid say they never heard from her again.
“She would find properties that are foreclosed, and she would find these victims, all of them undocumented, who were looking to buy homes,” Parlier Police Chief Jose Garza told YourCentralValley.com. Six people have come forward so far, police say.
Flores-Morales faces charges of grand theft and theft by false pretenses.
“We have to do a lot of education here of letting the folks of the Spanish-speaking population (know) that they can be the victims of the scam even over the phone or in person,” Garza said. “We still have a lot of education to do on our part. It’s out there.”