This month, a Miami real estate broker and two-time Florida Senate candidate in the 38th District was sentenced to federal prison for defrauding investors and other illegal activities. Anis Blemur is facing a seven-year prison term and another five years of supervised release.
Prosecutors say that Blemur preyed on the people of the Miami community of Little Haiti. These were the very people he promised in his 2016 campaign to empower. (He also ran unsuccessfully for the Florida Senate in 2014.)
The one-time entrepreneur obtained some $1.6 million from investors between 2013 and 2016 that he claimed he was using to purchase South Florida real estate. However, he deposited the money into his own accounts instead of the escrow accounts he claimed he was putting it in. Among his victims was a Haitian diplomat who handed over $70,000 that he thought was being placed into escrow for a property that Blemur was supposedly buying.
In addition to the investment scam, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation and the FBI uncovered an identity theft scam. Blemur used people’s personal information in applications for over two dozen credit cards. He pleaded guilty in April to aggravated identity theft as well as money laundering and wire fraud.
While most real estate brokers operate within the law, this industry (like any in which significant amounts of money are involved) can attract some unscrupulous characters. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Before doing business with someone you don’t know very well, or if you believe you’re the victim of a scam, it’s wise to talk to an experienced real estate attorney to get their guidance and support.