French investment fraud continues in the US

There were reactions after our article in December about an SEC complaint against a Frenchman from Florida suspected of defrauding 250 Frenchmen (the victims live in France) (1) at home sales in Detroit, Michigan. During the month of January 2023 The Courier of the Americas was contacted by a woman who revealed that she and “30 additional people” claim to be victims of another French real estate agent in Detroit, and that this group is currently “seeking a French attorney in the United States.” The problem in these kinds of cases is the rates of legal fees in the United States, which are often higher than the amounts that victims can hope to recover if they win their case (and if the fraudster has not succeeded in hiding all or part of the money).

We have a lot of Canadian readers over the winter, so let’s start by reminding them that they too are concerned, as some were scammed in land sales in North Dakota a few years ago.

This woman who contacted us assures us that in her case file she bought a house in Detroit and “they never renovated the house as agreed and now they are asking me for more than $13,000 to restore it and if I don’t paying they say the house is not rentable.Yesterday a realtor that I appointed visited my house and he was surprised to find a tenant paying $800 in rent to a different LLC than mine.He checked and the house is in my LLC’s name.”

Other victims of different cases have also contacted us and we encourage others to do so:

Other info:

Despite the fact that “Le Courrier des Amériques” has never investigated these cases in the “Rust Belt” of the northern United States, facts have been brought to us by witnesses or by legal complaints (or by the SEC), but it is also possible to publish interesting observations:

– The Courier nevertheless contacted French lawyers in New York to confirm an intuition: someone who claims to be a “victim’s lawyer” is not a real lawyer. His website is still online.

A friend of the newspaper tells us that there is also “a fake French immigration lawyer in the western United States for several years”… As long as you do…

– In one of the largest fraud cases in Detroit, one of the websites used for years to phish victims is still online and listed at the top of Google’s search rankings…the real estate agent’s name has simply changed inside on the website.

– As far as we know (without specifically doing any research), six different South Florida-based partnerships were still selling real estate in the Rust Belt at the start of the Covid crisis. This is not to say that anyone is dishonest, but to make some observations. Among other common points: all these people were “investment specialists”. Four looked very much like young “specialists”. These six “specialist” companies have all ceased operations, except for one, which still sometimes indicates that it is in this market, but still seems to have slowed down….

Two of these “investment specialists” have apparently been sold “media” in recent years (for an E-2 visa?) by other French from Florida. Being ourselves media, and not being able to be “judged and judged”, we did not talk about it then (1). These two “media outlets” have at one point or another been presented by their owners as being the “number 1 French media outlet in the US” or something similar. But today it is clear that these “media” acquired by “investment specialists” were such good investments… that they did not no visible activity for many months (as of 24 January 2023).

Scope of files: in the (only) case that we covered in December, there are 250 proven victims (the two people blaming each other do not deny that the 250 are indeed “victims”). And beyond the victims, our readers who have read the case also think these cases are “serious.” On the other hand, there is currently very little public reaction from local French officials in the United States.

Advice: People investing in the US need to know the local market for themselves. As you can see, there are a number of scammers in this market (and not only French ones), but also amateurs posing as “specialists”.

Precision: if there are villains in the French community in the United States, let us remember that they are, however, an extreme minority: there is no greater percentage of villains than in a city in France. As far as we know, it is especially necessary to be wary of items that are sold at very low prices.

Another perspective: Scams aside, investments in the United States are often based on a belief in the constant increase in the value of land and property. However, since the trend at the beginning of the year seems to be turning downward (except in Florida or Texas), those who invested last year risk finding themselves, in a large number of states, owners of land and/or goods with a lower value than at the time of their purchase… And even if it’s only temporary, these “investors” who don’t know anything about it are therefore likely to go high!

1 – If someone could do an article about fake French speaking media in Florida it would help a lot of people….

Also see:

– Our December article is here: exchange commission/

USA: Beware of land or cheap house sales


Skyroad International: removals in USA, movers in Canada, France, Switzerland, Belgium

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