orlando, florida – A couple who recently moved from Connecticut to central Florida became the latest victims of a multi-billion dollar nationwide real estate scheme called “Business Email Breach.”
Aimee and Michael Ferla have admitted to being tricked last month by an email message that appeared to come from the title company they were hired to handle the closure of their home in De Leon Springs.
“I made the wire transfer on September 6th, signed all the contract closing papers on September 7th, and then received notification from the title company on September 8th that I had not received the money,” Aimee said. told News 6. “$18,000, my life savings, is gone.
Their money was transferred to a Texas bank account. Investigators are working to track down the people behind the scam.
According to the Global Investigative Operations Center, Ferras is not alone. According to data, the real estate victim lost his $5 million in a business email fraud case last Friday alone.
U.S. Secret Service financial investigator and financial analyst Stephen Dougherty has been assigned to the GIOC to track U.S. real estate and global fraud cases.
Dougherty told News 6 that scammers gain victims’ trust by accessing sensitive information through email chains and the dark web.
“They intercept email traces, 19 or 20 email messages back and forth, copy and paste them all, and say, ‘Oh, this is definitely my real estate agent and title company.’ you would think,’ he said.
Ferlas said he didn’t want anyone involved in the closing to help them collect the money.
Their bank is looking at when Ferras actually made a recall request for the funds, so they can determine if Ferras will issue the lost money.
News 6 shared Ferras’ documents and emails with the Global Investigative Operations Center and Michigan-based CertifID.
Tom Cronkright, co-founder and executive chairman of CertifID, told News 6 that rising interest rates will put “more cash at risk” for homebuyers in Florida and across the country. It means more cash down on real estate, he said.
“There are multiple parties to a transaction that either side is coordinating,” Cronkright said. “To sum it all up, it’s the perfect cocktail for this kind of scam, unfortunately.”
Cronkwright told News 6 that he was a victim of a business email compromise in 2015. He lost his $180,000 on his property that was near an international gang operating in Nigeria.
“It’s incredibly prevalent in the real estate industry right now,” he said. account. “
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