Who said housing scams can’t read like a zombie movie? In this scam, a man came back from the dead to trick people in to investing in bad houses. I foresee a blockbuster hit.
Cleveland’s News Net 5 uncovered the scheme, perpetrated by a man now named John Alexander — who used to be Michael Pedwell — who once faked his own death for insurance money. The scam was easily uncovered, he pleaded guilty to insurance fraud and then he disappeared.
He reappeared years later in California under the name Michael Alexander before partnering with Mark Tow — who was banned from selling securities in 2003 — to scam the good people of Cleveland with a company named EZ Access.
The two bought up foreclosed properties, promising investors they would clean them up, but they never did. One home was bought for $900, then sold to investors for $32,000 only weeks later with no improvements made.
The two roped the investors in with presentations, in which Alexander said they had “some exciting and very interesting, but more importantly, some very lucrative information” to share with them, and that they “have put together a complete turnkey system whereby you’ll be able to take advantage of what we can show you and offer you.”
No good zombie movie would be complete without explosions.
Two years ago, a home owned by EZ Access exploded. Destroying almost an entire neighborhood.
The pair have piled up $335,000 in potential housing court fines, more than $500,000 in unpaid taxes and $32 million in contempt sanctions for failure to appear in housing court for the last three years.
Alas, the man now known as Alexander seems to have disappeared again.
In all seriousness, such scams are no laughing matter. Though this one seems to contain all the mystery and intrigue of a mystery novel.