Alleged Con Man Caught After Posing as Owners of Luxury Condos

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on September 20, 2017

 Alleged Con Man Caught After Posing as Owners of Luxury CondosAn alleged con man has been caught before he made away with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of luxury real estate.

Police say George French Jones’ strategy involved posing as a wealthy man and forging documents to first take control over luxury properties in South Florida, and then trying to take out loans against the properties. The victims include luxury condo and home owners.

One of the victims, Icon Brickell condo owner Ana Marzal de Bolivar, won a lawsuit against Jones in 2015 after he obtained a $441,000 loan by signing his and Bolivar’s names on fake documents. Jones now faces criminal charges after using more fake documents to try to gain control of a South beach condo, a Fort Lauderdale beachfront condo, and a Coral Gables mansion.

This isn’t Jones’ first run-in with the law. In 2013, he scammed hundreds of thousands selling fake season tickets and part ownership of the L.A. Heat and served just 16 months in a California jail. Jones is college-educated and attended a year of law school, and has more than a dozen arrests since that time, all for white-collar crimes.

It’s hard to protect yourself from real estate fraud, mainly because the perpetrators are confident, tricky, and know how to gain trust. Never share any information about your financial situation or details about properties you own, especially to people you just met. Never make verbal agreements or sign documents that will be filled in later. Keep legal and financial documents locked up and out of sight at home, out of view of visitors.

Another thing you can do to safeguard yourself is to conduct transactions in person. Get to know your financial advisors and bank staff by name, and conduct business in person as much as possible so that it will be suspicious if someone else is suddenly acting on your behalf.

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Real Estate and Civil Litigation cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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