The Camden County Prosecutor’s Office reports a mother and son have been charged in connection with a real estate scam and urges anyone who believes they may be a victim to come forward.
Lisa Smith, 51, is alleged to have fraudulently leased or sold properties in foreclosure throughout South Jersey that she had no legal right to rent, sell or even enter. Her son, Kristian “Frank” Edmonds, 28, is also accused of participating in the scam.
It is alleged the defendants accessed the foreclosed properties by unlawfully using keys from real estate lockboxes or having the properties re-keyed. In some incidents, the utilities were unlawfully turned back on and winterization stickers were scraped off. Some victims reported learning the plumbing had been removed only after moving in. Detectives have identified more than 20 potential victims in Camden, Gloucester and Burlington counties. Charges are pending further investigation in many of these cases.
At this time, Smith, a Philadelphia resident who also goes by the name Lisa Edmonds, is charged with three counts of third-degree theft by deception. In two of the cases, she allegedly posed as a real estate agent and created a fictitious real estate purchase agreement for two properties in foreclosure. In one case, the victim provided a check for $27,500 to purchase a property in Sicklerville. In the other case, the victim provided a check for $18,000 to purchase a property in Camden. Both transactions occurred in Collingswood in April 2015. Neither victim obtained the property they were attempting to purchase nor received their money back. In the third case, Smith is accused of taking $3,000 from a victim in September 2015 for a rental property in the Avandle West Development of Sicklerville when she did not have authorization to lease the foreclosed property.
Smith is also charged with one count of third-degree burglary for allegedly entering a foreclosed home in Woodlynne while knowing that she was not licensed or privileged to do so. Additionally, her son, Kristian Edmonds, whose last known address is in Sicklerville, is charged with one count of third-degree burglary for allegedly entering a foreclosed home in Winslow without permission and posing as a Realtor.
An investigation revealed that the suspects were conducting these transactions under the business names of Sterling Realty Investments and REQ (Real Estate Queens) Realtors, which are located at 128 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia and 571 Black Horse Pike in Turnersville, respectively. Two additional business, Angel Home Savers, LLC and Breeze Capital Consulting Group, LLC, affiliated with the defendants are listed at 614 W. Collings Avenue in Collingswood, where two of the aforementioned fraudulent transactions took place in April 2015.
According to state records, Smith’s real estate license as well as her eligibility for a broker’s license were revoked for life in March 2010. Sterling Realty Investments had its business license revoked by the state for not filing reports in 2009. REQ Realtors has no business filings with the state.
Anyone who believes they are a victim of these companies or suspects is urged to contact Camden County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Grace Clodfelter at (856) 225-8479. Information may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All persons charged with criminal offenses are innocent unless and until convicted in a court of law.
Released Thursday, February 18, 2016.