CONSUMER REAL ESTATE FRAUD ALERT
A person using the name ‘Adriano Ausley‘ is scamming potential home renters in California. Read on to find out how not to be a victim of this ‘Mr. Adriano Ausley’ or anyone else who perpetrates the same scam on an unsuspecting public.
‘Mr. Adriano Ausley’, who seems to be a male member of the species, takes out Craigslist (and likely other) online ads listing nice rental properties at sub-market monthly rental rates. That’s the draw. The ads include external and internal photos of the alleged rental unit, with those photos taken from legitimate real estate firm websites and online listing services.
After reading the great ad adorned by all the photos, and for such a surprisingly low monthly rental amount, the unsuspecting person calls ‘Mr. Ausley’ announcing that they are interested in renting the unit because it seems like such a good deal.
(Now ‘Adriano Ausley’ switches the scam into high-gear to begin reeling in the victim.)
‘Mr. Ausley’ tells the caller that there is lots of interest in the unit and if the caller wants to get it then s/he had better hurry up and immediately sign a lease agreement. But what if the caller actually wants to see the unit before renting it? ‘Mr. Ausley’ will respond with something like, ‘Well, there’s so much interest in this property that if you want to wait to actually see inside it will be too late. I’m waiting on a signed lease from someone else already and if I get their paperwork first you’ll lose out.’
The caller, who is now turning into a potential victim, says, ‘Okay. Send me the lease to sign.’
‘Mr. Ausley’ sends the lease agreement to the caller via email, along with a picture of ‘his’ California Real Estate Broker license to make the deal seem legitimate. He tells the now almost-victim to return the signed agreement to him quickly, along with the deposit and first month’s rent via an online app like Zelle or Venmo, if the person wants to be the other ‘potential renters’ to the punch. Upon receipt of the signed lease and the deposit and rental fee, ‘Mr. Ausley’ says he’ll rush out to meet the ‘renter’ at the property to hand over the keys.
The person being suckered sends back to ‘Mr. Ausley’ the signed…but fake…lease agreement (including information that can later be used to later engage in identify theft), and then submits the deposit and rent to ‘Mr. Ausley’ via the payment app.
Can you guess what happens next?
Of course you can…
‘Mr. Ausley’ gets the signed lease and money, but never meets the renter at the property. The money is gone only then does the ‘renter’ then figures out that s/he has been scammed out of the money.
How do I know about this scam?
Because ‘Mr. Ausley’ forged his name on to an electronic copy of my real real estate broker license certificate. That what he sends with the phony draft lease he sends to the potential victim to help convince the victim that he must be legitimate because he has a piece of paper that looks real…but it’s not!
We’ve heard the same story from several of ‘Mr. Ausley’s’ victims.
Since at least one of the DRE licenses ‘Mr. Ausley’ forges belongs to the author of this web site, I have filed a criminal compliant with the applicable police agency, and that agency has opened a case. I am also filing a investigation complaint with the California Department of Real Estate so that they may start their own process.
RULES TO CONSIDER
WHAT TO DO WHEN ‘IT’S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE’
1. Beware of rental units advertised online that are too good to be true…in this market that’s likely to the case…and that’s your first fraud warning;
2. When you first contact the so-called ‘broker’ ask for the website address of the real estate company that the person claims to work for and immediately check it out;
3. When you visit the real estate firm website, see if that person is even listed as a member of the firm. If the answer is yes, get the website-published email address for that person and send him/her an email to the company email address to determine whether that person is the one you are talking to on-line;
4. Better yet, call that real estate firm using the telephone number listed on the web site and ask a live person if the person you’re dealing with is really affiliated with that brokerage;
5. If the ‘broker’ wants you to use an email address that does not match the domain name of the real estate brokerage, such as firstname.lastname@example.org or a hotmail.com address or any other domain name that is not the same as the claimed brokerage, or you start to get a creepy feeling about the ‘broker’ be aware that you are likely being set up to be scammed out of your cold hard cash;
6. Before giving a real estate broker (or someone claiming to be one) money or your personal financial information, ask to see the rental unit in person…if the ‘broker’ won’t meet you at the property to show it to you, or for any reason if you are unable to get in to the unit, then GET OUT of the negotiation;
7. Never, never, never (did we say, ‘never?’) send money via an online app or money service like Western Union, to a real estate broker much less someone claiming to be one, and especially not to a ‘person’ (and we use that term lightly) by the name of ‘Adriano Ausley’.
Are then other people with the real name of Adriano Ausley? That’s likely to be the case. And it’s certainly possible that someone other our miscreant Adriano Ausley is 100% legitimate, kind, and truthful. This web site only deals with the particular slimy scammer using that name to defraud people of out their hard-earned cash by way of fake real estate transactions.
Have you been victimized by someone claiming to be a real estate broker? Contact the police department where you currently live and ask to talk with an officer to take you report (that’s what I’ve done). Also consider filing a complaint with the California Department of Real Estate.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Dr. Jonathan L. Kramer, Esq.
California Real Estate Broker of Telecom Realty Corp.
Realtor® Member, the Malibu Association of Realtors®
(originally posted: 11 February 2022)