Even Bernie Madoff wouldn’t go this far

Scanning the newspaper the other day, I became intrigued with the advertisement reproduced above at its actual size.  It  managed to attract my attention even though I fall depressingly short of the amount requested.

Not only did the author’s rudimentary grasp of grammar and spelling – which is more evident on his various Web sites – interest me, but I was astonished to read that someone actually was promising, promising,to double some dupe’s money in three years.

Now, I don’t know what, if any, laws the company might be breaking or whether, if so, it is breaking the law wittingly.

However, I learned at my late father’s knee that – everybody chime in – if something seems to good to be true, then it must not be true.

So I went to the Web site in the ad, which in itself was not in the least illuminating.  It provided a Park Avenue address, though no suite number, plus the telephone number that is printed above.  Looks like a cell phone number, right?  I’m at this point thinking “fly by night.”

The “About Us” link says this:

Our company is based on the belief that our customers’ needs are of the utmost importance. Our entire team is committed to meeting those needs. And we Guarantee to find you, your dream/perfect home.
We would welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and deliver you the perfect home.

No name, no nuthin’, but at least “guarantee” is capitalized.

Following other links, I learn that:

  • The author’s name is Peter Clarke
  • His company is based in, get this, Southampton
  • His home Web site is Fountain-homes-america.com (without a capitalized “America”)

On his home site, I click on “About Us” again.  Finding nothing about his “entire team” or his credentials, here’s what I glean in toto:

About Us
Fountain Homes was formed to find those unique properties with character and style, set in great locations.properties the greater public would not be aware of, or know how to find.
We do makeovers on all our properties, and we specialize in  medium price homes.
And we always sell under current market value
We welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and place you in your dream home.

Based on his statements about real estate brokers, it doesn’t seem that Mr. Clarke is one of us.  (If he is, he is breaking the law by failing to disclose that he’s a licensed real estate broker.)  Here’s what he writes:

For to long we have had to use the trial and error system, to find our new homes, which is a tedious task, that can take many months, the only real assistance being, from partially bias Estate Agents that share a patch of turf, with several other Estate Agents, who have limited knowledge of all the listings in the area, and even less about properties outside their patch (Multi listing sites cover 75%)

Maybe he’s a lawyer; I don’t know.   Maybe just a businessman.  Maybe he’s really writing from Nigeria or Estonia. There’s no clue.

I’m really not sure what he’s up to, and I’m especially curious about the following passage on his site:

We will then track the three closest matches to their specific request, and send them a set of photos of each,If they like one or more, we bring them out for a personal viewing, and if they are serious, the rest is a formality. To make it even better, we always sell just under market value, and best of all,

This is a free service
Another thing we noticed, was that almost everyone buying a new home, has little things they want to change, not the least of these is repainting, either part, or the whole home, in their prefered colors
So to ensure our clients get a good start, and really enjoy their new home, we are going to repaint their new home, their choice of colors, and incude limited landscape gardening FREE OF CHARGE as our welcome gift to them.
(If you really want to sell a house, painting and gardening has to be done anyway, We’re just doing it tailored for each individual Buyer)

What I get from the information doesn’t add up.  He’s helping buyers find properties and then staging them after they purchase them?  Who does the transaction?

Over the next four years, Clarke claims, “most” Americans will buy their homes this way.

To launch “our Company” (cap “C”) on a “National level” (cap “N”), “We need an Equity Investor with $5-10 Million, (investment security with property titles,” (caps “W,” “E,” “I,” and “M”) runs the Web site,  with all those capitalized letters apparently suggesting that he really, really, really means it.

Then, he provides yet another phone number: 631-731-3150

I haven’t called him yet since I thought it would be more fun to start with this account from what he has put on the record.  I may call him soon and report back to you.  Come to think of it, he or his attorney may be calling me.

Meantime, if you think investing with him sounds like a good idea, please call me, too:  There’s this bridge I’d love to sell you.

(Note: The newsletter that I write on alternate Fridays is available as of noon today.  In it, you’ll find news about the housing market, celebrity sales and purchases, mortgage updates, household tips and much, much more.)

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201

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