Realtors and real estate agents all across the country may be victims of a massive advertising scam that promised local ad placement but instead resulted in the theft of $2 million.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a Louisiana man is now facing mail fraud charges for allegedly perpetrating an eight-year scheme under which he falsely told Realtors and real estate agents that he could provide television and internet advertising.
Harris’ indictment alleges that he induced Realtors and real estate agents to pay thousands of dollars for advertising on major television networks based upon the zip codes where the agents worked.
But instead of delivering on his promises, Rex Alan Harris allegedly used the money he received from Realtors and real estate agents for his own personal benefit and the benefit of others.
According to the DOJ, Harris supposedly spent the stolen money on purchases of tens of thousands of dollars in merchandise through PayPal, Footlocker and Nike.com, and on New Orleans Saints season tickets.
All told, Harris, who is also known as Michael Harris, Rex Rogan, and Rex Alan, allegedly made off with $2 million in ill-gotten gains.
Harris operated a business called “Agents By City,” but also did business under many other names, including: “Our Family First Realty,” “Better Realty Deals,” “Amazing Realty Deals,” “The Top Agent/Monolith Media Group,” “American Real Estate Idols” and “Agents by City.”
According to the DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Harris’ alleged victims number in the “hundreds,” but the figure could be even higher.
The DOJ and the FBI are encouraging Realtors and real estate agents who paid money to any of Harris’ businesses to contact them because they may also be victims of Harris’ alleged scheme.
Harris faces a total sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 at each count or both for his alleged crime.