A Real Estate Broker Accused of Theft: Are There More Victims?
Recently, a shocking case of theft has come to light in Monroe County, Pennsylvania. Local detectives believe that a real estate broker, Michael Baxter, who is already facing close to two dozen felony charges, may have more victims yet to be discovered.
Buying a property is a significant investment, involving a lengthy and costly process before one can finally obtain the keys to their dream home. Unfortunately, many individuals going through this process in Monroe County found themselves in a distressing situation when their transactions fell through for various reasons. Even worse, all the money they had put down as a down payment was never returned.
Detective Craig VanLouvender from the Monroe County District Attorney’s office expressed his sympathy for the victims, stating, “You feel bad for someone. They’re putting their trust in a company that’s going to represent them, that’s going to look out for their interests, and then to be out that money, you know, that’s a lot of money for some people.”
According to court papers, Michael Baxter, the owner of the now-closed Michael Baxter and Associates, was taking down payments from clients and keeping the money for himself when their transactions fell through. In some instances, he would attribute the failure to return the money to hacking incidents that purportedly affected his company’s computers.
Apart from real estate sales, Baxter’s company also operated a property management business. The Monroe County District Attorney’s office revealed that some victims owned rental properties and had entrusted Baxter with collecting rents on their behalf. Shockingly, these landlords never received their rental income.
Detective VanLouvender suspects that there may be additional victims who have yet to come forward. He urged anyone who believes they might have been affected by Baxter’s fraudulent practices to come forward and report their cases. “We’d like to get everybody heard that wants to be heard so that we can move this forward and not have someone find out later on that, ‘Oh, I didn’t know about this. I would’ve liked to have been heard,’ so that we can get everything together and ensure that the case doesn’t drag on forever. Our primary goal is to help people get their money back or bring them justice, resolving the matter at this point.”
The shocking case of Michael Baxter serves as a reminder of the importance of conducting due diligence and thoroughly vetting professionals before entrusting them with our hard-earned money. Whether it’s a real estate broker or any other service provider, it is crucial to verify their credentials, reputation, and track record to avoid becoming a victim of financial fraud.
As investigations continue, authorities encourage anyone who may have been affected by this case to come forward and share their experiences. By doing so, they can contribute to building a stronger case against Baxter and, potentially, help others in recovering their funds.
Those who suspect they may be a victim are urged to contact the Monroe County District Attorney’s office to ensure that justice is served. Only through collective action can we prevent such crimes from happening in the future and protect ourselves and our community from unscrupulous individuals.
If anyone has any further information or has witnessed any suspicious activity, please reach out to the authorities or contact the Newstip Hotline to ensure that justice is served and our community remains safe. We must stand together in such troubling times and protect one another.