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991 Homes - Rent to Own Ripped Me Off

My name is Ellen Wilhelmi, and I have been taken for $3000 by a rather shady real estate broker who operates locally. I responded to an ad on Craiglist for 1844 Golden Arrow Drive; the price and terms were VERY attractive and I made an appointment to see it. On Sunday, my boyfreind and I met with "Gil" and viewed the property; we loved it, and were advised by Gil that we should make a deposit right away, and he would send us our contracts via e-mail that afternoon. At no time did he contradict us when we discussed the monthly payment ($799 in the ad). He gave us the account number of his business, 991home llc, and suggested we just do a simple funds transfer since we banked at Wells-Fargo as well, and said we'd have the keys the next day (after the paperwork he was sending was faxed back signed, of course). He seemed so sincerely happy for us! Since we have lived in a weekly for over a year, and the home was so appealing (thats factoring in what his ad CLAIMED were the simple terms) we were happy and excited and made the critical mistake of doing the transfer in the amount of $3999 an hour later. No, we didn't research 991homes first; hindsight is 20/20, as they say. When we received the contracts by email, the first thing we noticed was the monthly payment was $999, not $799; then I read the contracts themselves and knew I would be a FOOL to sign them. The terms of the lease were completely different from the ad; several of the terms were so completely unreasonable I was horrified. That aside, we had discussed with him at the property the fact that a) we had saved several thousand dollars to buy a home b) that although we had a pre-approval from Wells-Fargo for $78k, we knew we could get better terms with better credit (my boyfreinds score + my disabled roomate's score=0) and c) $800 a month was all we could afford, he never ONCE said "oh, the rent is $999." Furthermore, one of the terms was that in 24 months the place would be reappraised and THAT was the purchase price; another stated that if the rent was even 1 day late, the rent would increase 5% and we would lose our option! I immediately called his cell and sent an email to say no deal. I had no reply, so I sent a polite request for the return of my money. An hour later, rather than calling me, I got an email containing a receipt for the money as "non refundable holding deposit"! We aren't ***; had we known it would be non-refundable, WE NEVER WOULD HAVE PAID IT! Plus, less than 8 hours had passed since we met at the property...and he told us then that he was just hurrying because his kids were in thhe was e car and he was spending the day with them....so how on earth was the property "held" when clearly it wasn't EVEN IN HIS AGENDA to broker anymore that day? Furious, I called and texted wanting to know if he was REALLY keeping our money. A bit later he called me and said he could refund 999, the first months' rent, but the other $3000 was not returnable. I told him that since he never told us it was non-refundable, and the ad had claimed the $3000 was a down payment on the option- no mention of it being a "deposit" of any kind- it was completely unfair that it was being kept. He said he'd call his partner, and get right back to me; when he called back and said no again, I said "well give me your FULL name, and your partner's, so I know who to sue." He replied that the contracts were still good until tomorrow and we could sign them so our money wasn't 'lost'..again I asked for names (which were curiously absent from the paperwork, other than 991homes) and he said "I don't HAVE to give you that information, and I'm hanging up" Upon researching 991homes, I discovered that nothing about this 'company' or the people invoved in its administration; the homepage was "under construction" since 2009; there is nothing to be found but links to ads that have already been deleted or removed. please help me stop these people from preying on families that desperately seek homeownership. Please.
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7 comments
#280835

Don't feel so bad. He got my wife and I for ten thousand.

He was selling a place that he had claimed was his own, but in fact only had an option on. He defaulted on his contract with the original owner and we are out everything. He changed his address, cell numbers and location. Dissolved his company.

Claims he has a partner, but most likely he took his 991home holdings and put them into someone elses (ie, maybe his wife) name. His apparantly has done this many, many times. He did offer to give us a partial rent credit twards another house that was a "former" 991home llc property. Of course, it was a smaller property, smaller home, and several hundred a month more.

In addition, he was not going to cover any moving expenses or legal fees. Same as above story, never calls back, always claims he is with the kids except when you offer him money. If he gets into a tight spot, he starts crying saying he did it for his kids. Very difficult to work with once any paperwork is signed.

Goes by Gil, and Gilbert Fuentes. We have hired legal representation.

It should be interesting to see how it plays out. Personally, I would rather see him in jail.

#265387

Hi. Im an investor myself who does what looks to be a lease with the option to buy here, more commonly known as a "lease option".

 What would normally be a fully refundable deposit for a simple rental or lease alone is instead known as a "down payment" or "option payment". The language alone does make it a non refundabke transaction. Deposits are refundable, DPs are not. Unless otherwise specified in the agreement.

I usually make thjs clear verbally with my lease option tenants and include it in the agreement as well. This is why thy say, dont sign something you may not fully understand without an attirney's help. I personally like to think most people are not out to rip u off. So i advise you to trust, but VERIFY.

When i bought my first home in 2005 i trusted but did not verify and ended up with an ARM loan i did no fully understand. It led to my forclosure in 2008. I may have been dooped but it was me who signed without verifying. This may sound harsch but there is no one to blame here but you.

No that Gil is a nice man. I have never met or spoken with Gil but i am familiar with their site. Sounds to me like he was counting on your lack of knowledge and u signing the contract without reading and verifying it. If thats the case, then there is nothing u can legally do.

Chances are he's protected against law suits like he one you would bring to their door. He'd be a fool not to.

I know i am. Best thing u can do is learn from this and advise others to trust but verify. 

#777519
@LV INV

He got me for nearly 30k. Same thing he didn't own the home he was selling.

He lease optioned it from someone else. After tracking him down for months, I sued and won. He totally disappeared after that and I of course received nothing back. He was also on chanel 8 news or Inside 13 for a bit in early 2011.

By that time, the damage to alot of people had already been done. Once one of his LLC's get into hot water, he disolves everything and forms a new company. Elkhorn Trust, Bowling Green, there are a dozen of them. Horrible person.

I do understand he had his real estate license revoked as well and is facing hundreds of thousands in fines. I have been looking for him for three years now and have been unable to find him.

#904573
@LV INV

Paperwork was checked. Gil misrepresented owning the property, or rights to sell the property.

Oddly enough, he did have the rights to RENT the property and if we had defaulted, we would have legally lost everything we put into the place. We sued. We won. Collected nothing.

Gil disappeared. Several others sued. Gil lost his real estate license, was fined some huge ammounts, yada, yada. Apparantly he had done this sort of thing for awhile.

He would create LLC's, build them up, get caught, dissove the LLC, then create a new one with the old properties that hadn't gone south on him. This last time, he has been off the radar since 2011.

#215400

What can we do to get some of our money back? Or are we just out of luck?

Anyone know? Please post

#904576
@I'm was another "991 homes" Re

So far, I have received nothing after winning a suit for over $20k. I tried looking for property in his name.

Found nothing. Went after a couple of banks. Nothing. I still look around for him from time to time in hopes of finding something to attach.

All I find is more people that have sued, won, and received nothing.

I do know he uses several names, might have put things into his wifes name, changes his name around. He has to do something for income.

#1019483
@Anonymous

We have located the infamous Gil Fuentes in Summerlin in Las Vegas. He is subject to yet another eviction lawsuit! Please contact us at bayareajudgmentcollector@***.com.

Looking forward to hearing from everyone.

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ID
#204201 Review #204201 is a subjective opinion of poster.
Location
Las Vegas, Nevada