Did you fall victim to this mother-son duo? Charged in 20-plus real estate scams
The scam was, authorities day, a family affair.
Authorities are looking for anyone else who may have been taken in by a mother-son team they allege ran real estate scams throughout South Jersey.
Lisa Smith, 51, is alleged to have fraudulently leased or sold properties in foreclosure throughout South Jersey that she had no legal right to rent, sell or even enter, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office said. Her son, Kristian “Frank” Edmonds, 28, is also accused of participating in the scam, it said.
Authorities say the two used keys from real estate lockboxes or had the properties rekeyed, giving them access to the foreclosed properties. In some cases, they had utilities turned back on and scraped winterization stickers off, the prosecutor's office said.
So far, police have identified more than 20 potential victims in Camden, Gloucester and Burlington counties, authorities said.
Smith, a Philadelphia resident who also goes by the name Lisa Edmonds, is charged with three counts of third-degree theft by deception. In two of the cases, she allegedly posed as a real estate agent and created a fictitious real estate purchase agreement for two properties in foreclosure, the prosecutor's office said. In one case, the victim provided a check for $27,500 to purchase a property in Sicklerville. In the other case, the victim provided a check for $18,000 to purchase a property in Camden.
Both transactions occurred in Collingswood in April 2015, the prosecutor's office said. Neither victim obtained the property they were attempting to purchase nor received their money back, it said.
In the third case, Smith is accused of taking $3,000 from a victim in September 2015 for a rental property in the Avandle West Development of Sicklerville when she did not have authorization to lease the foreclosed property, the prosecutor's office said.
Smith is also charged with one count of third-degree burglary for allegedly entering a foreclosed home in Woodlynne while knowing that she was not licensed or privileged to do so.
Kristian Edmonds, whose last known address is in Sicklerville, is charged with one count of third-degree burglary for allegedly entering a foreclosed home in Winslow without permission and posing as a real-estate agent, the prosecutor's office said.
The mother-son team conducted transactions under the business names of Sterling Realty Investments and REQ (Real Estate Queens) Realtors, which are located at 128 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia and 571 Black Horse Pike in Turnersville, authorities said.
Another two business affiliated with the mother and son, Angel Home Savers LLC and Breeze Capital Consulting Group LLC, are re listed at 614 W. Collings Avenue in Collingswood, where two of the fraudulent transactions took place in April 2015, authorities said.
Smith’s real estate license as well as her eligibility for a broker’s license were revoked for life in March 2010, the prosecutor's office said. Sterling Realty Investments had its business license revoked by the state for not filing reports in 2009, it said.
REQ Realtors has no business filings with the state, according to the prosecutor's office.
It is asking anyone who may be a victim of the duo to contact Detective Grace Clodfelter at 856-225-8479. Information may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.