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Fraudulent property sale goes through, builder stops construction

1 month 3 weeks 4 days ago Friday, April 26 2024 Apr 26, 2024 April 26, 2024 10:38 PM April 26, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - A developer says he purchased a lot to build someone an affordable house. The company hired crews to start building but stopped when someone else said they were the real owners.

Christopher Guillory is the owner of Kingdom Builders Developments of Louisiana. His attorney Sharon Kyle says her client is a victim and they're hoping to get this unfortunate situation resolved quickly.

"Like I told you earlier, I'm not happy about it," said Guillory.

Last fall, Guillory says his real estate agent found several lots for sale online. After making offers, Guillory says his agent heard back from one seller and they moved forward with purchasing the land for $15,000. His name is on the paperwork.

"I used all the appropriate channels to make sure we purchased the property legally and obviously that didn't protect us from this particular situation," he said.

He started building the house in February. Guillory says he had interested buyers and people working for a paycheck.

"Those guys, they don't have income now," said Guillory.

Soon after the crews started building they stopped. Someone had spoken with the crew saying the land was theirs. On Thursday, 2 On Your Side spoke with Sam Glasper Pleasant who has detailed records saying the lot has been in her family since the 1980s. The lot was donated to herself and her brother by their dad in 2006. Now Glasper Pleasant and Guillory say they're victims of an elaborate scam.

"This is the first time I've heard of it," said Guillory.

Attorney Sharon Kyle says Guillory did what any builder would have done.

"He relied on his agents and the title company and the professionals that he hired and here we are," said Kyle.

Court documents show some red flags. In those documents, it shows that the Glaspers are married instead of brother and sister. Glasper Pleasant's name is misspelled and the power of attorney paperwork has an invalid notary seal from Florida.

"A little due diligence could have gone a long way," said Kyle.

Now Guillory says he's stopped work until the details have been sorted out. After investing about $80,000 into the project, he's trying to stay positive.

"I'm not going to be angry about it," he said.

Guillory does have title insurance but that does not cover the lot improvements. Both Guillory and Glasper Pleasant are looking for more answers.

Title company Phoenix Title provided the following statement to 2 On Your Side.

The incident is on par with the recent trend and enormous uptick in fraudulent scenarios in the real estate industry. Fortunately for Phoenix Title, they were able to catch the fraud and seize the moment to attempt to repair the situation but also alert others in the industry of the purported fraudulent seller and their actions of deceiving all parties involved, including them.

Phoenix Title says it has reported the incident to the local authorities and the FBI. The title company says the agent representing the fraudulent seller only had communications via email, text, and phone. The sellers also presented a false and manufactured Power of Attorney that allowed them not to be present.

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