We mentioned last week that we had sought out people involved in the Barrera mortgage fraud and asked them a few questions regarding the home located at 3390 Oak Avenue which was used by John Arthur Romney to defraud Citi Mortgage out of nearly $400,000. The first person that we decided to track down was the realtor who sold Mr. Romney the home for $185,000 which he later flipped to Mr. Barrera or someone posing as Mr. Barrera for $600,000. After digging through the records we found that the realtor was one Betty Wilburn.
Betty tells us that her client was Maxine Andrews, the little old lady that sold the home to John Romney, Maxine's husband had died and she remained at the house on Oak Avenue after his death. The property was listed through Mrs Wilburn and was appraised at approximately $300,000; however Maxine was fed up and tired of being in that area. Maxine was anxious to leave the area which she subsequently did and moved up north. Fair enough. She went on to say that a man named John Romney whose name she recalled because of the similarity to then presidential candidate Mitt Romney came by to visit Maxine regarding her home. Maxine subsequently contacted Betty and stated that a man named John had knocked on her door and said that he would buy the house for cash. John (Romney) offered Maxine $185,000 for her home, Betty tried to convince Maxine not to accept the offer since the home was appraised for more but Maxine insisted that she wanted to sell the house and get out of town and that after being on the market for nearly a year, this was the only offer they had ever received on the home. Otherwise Maxine said that she would abandon the house and let it go into foreclosure.
So far so good right? Nothing earth shattering here, widow wants to sell her house in a bad area and get out of dodge, there's a buyer standing at the door with $185,000 in cash and the realtor wants the seller to hold out for more money. Here's were it gets good, Mrs. Wilburn recalls having a conversation with John Romney during which time he advised that he wanted to buy more homes in the area and that he was trying to buy the home across the street from Maxine's.
Did anyone catch that? We'll discuss tomorrow...