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Alleged Real Estate Scammer Nabbed in Florida

HAZLETON — A man accused of a real estate fraud scheme in Luzerne County has been nabbed by authorities in Florida. Ignacio Beato, 45, was detained late W...

HAZLETON -- A man accused of a real estate fraud scheme in Luzerne County has been nabbed by authorities in Florida.

Ignacio Beato, 45, was detained late Wednesday at the Orlando International Airport when he tried to enter the country from the Dominican Republic.

Beato is accused of accepting money from victims in the Hazleton area while using his position as a real estate agent to gain access to vacant homes. Unsuspecting victims moved into the vacant homes and only became aware of the fraud when served eviction notices filed by the lawful property owners.

Investigators claim that people who trusted Beato enough to give him cash to help them buy homes, found themselves out of money with no place to live

After victims went to authorities, Beato disappeared, until he was arrested trying to get back into the country from the Dominican Republic.

This is all part of a big investigation by state police and other agencies in Luzerne County

Beato is locked up in Florida, waiting to see when he'll have to come back to Pennsylvania to face charges related to the alleged real estate scam.

But when Beato comes back to Luzerne County, he may also have to face a lot of people who say he ruined their lives.

"I'm so (emotional), not because they caught him, because now basically they're going to do justice."

Felix Cabrera couldn't help but smile when Newswatch 16 told him that Beato was captured in Florida.

Authorities found Beato at Orlando International Airport. He was trying to get back into the United States from the Dominican Republic.

He is back in the U.S. but now behind bars. He's charged with forgery and theft.

Cabrera says Beato duped him out of a dream home in Hazleton. He claims he bought a house on Seybert Street last year, but he discovered all the paperwork he got from Beato was fake.

"What he did to me, he shouldn't be doing to anybody as the human beings that we are," Cabrera said.

Cabrera was evicted from the house he thought he bought from Beato. With Beato's capture, Cabrera says he doesn't think he wants to go back there because it's too painful.

"I don't want to go there no more because the past will come back to me."

The Greater Hazleton Association of Realtors suspects Beato scammed at least 50 people out of more than $1million. Many of those people are Dominican.

Cabrera doesn't think Beato worked this all on his own.

"He was not alone on this. Maybe he could speak up now and bring all the ones who actual helped him out."

Felix Cabrera says he can't wait to see Beato in a courtroom in Pennsylvania, but that may take a while.

Beato is awaiting an extradition hearing in Florida. It could be a few days or weeks before he's back in Luzerne County to face those charges.