Fake real estate agent scams family out of entire savings

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – Faith Kerns couldn’t wait to move into a house with just her and her boys. She found a great place in the school district she wanted, but she trusted someone who turned out to be a scam artist.

“It was heartbreaking when my son was running through the house going, ‘Oh, mom I want this room,’ and having to go back and tell him we’re not going to be moving here,” said Kerns.

Kerns contacted a man going by the name Sean Sims through a listing she saw on Craigslist. Sims claimed to be a realtor with Blue Door Realty in Rio Rancho.

“He had all the paperwork. He seemed to know a lot about the house. He seemed like a decent guy,” said Kerns.

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However, Sims is not a decent guy. Sims gave Kerns a lease to sign and keys to the house. In return, she gave him the required deposit, which happened to be all the money she had in her savings, $2,000.

“Monday morning I called PNM to switch the electric into my name and they told me the power had been off since 2015 and that I needed to contact the landlord because there were permits and inspections that needed to be done,” said Kerns.

Kerns called Sims. Sims’ phone had been disconnected. Kerns then called Blue Door Realty. That’s when she discovered the house was in foreclosure and the ugly truth about Sims.

“Sean does not work for us,” said Melanie McLaughlin, owner of Blue Door Realty.

McLaughlin says she doesn’t know a Sean Sims and is certain no one by that name has ever worked for her. However, she does believe she knows who he is.

“One morning two men followed me into the parking lot. They were sitting out there and one man came in and asked for my business card and I gave it to him and sent him on his way,” said McLaughlin.

McLaughlin was alone at the time. She says once her husband arrived, he went out to talk to the two men still sitting in their parking lot.

“That was when he saw the other person meeting them here in the parking lot,” said McLaughlin.

That other person was a prospective renter. They called Rio Rancho Police.

McLaughlin says they’ve received several calls asking about Sims. Everyone said he was trying to get them to give him money. However, the only person that gave him money was Kerns.

“I have less than a week to find a roof for me and my kids. I have no more money because I gave him all of my savings,” said Kerns.

Kerns says she only has a roof over her head for about another week. If you would like to donate to Kerns’ GoFundMe account, click here.

McLaughlin and Kerns describe the man as a thin white man with a goatee, ponytail and driving a gray Audi.

It is still also unknown how Sims obtained the keys to the property.

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