x
Breaking News
More () »

Real Estate Fraud Victim: ‘Everything was fake’

HAZLETON — Attorney Ed Olexa is representing 20 people in a case against Hazleton real estate agent Ignacio Beato. They all say they paid Beato in cash fo...

HAZLETON -- Attorney Ed Olexa is representing 20 people in a case against Hazleton real estate agent Ignacio Beato.

They all say they paid Beato in cash for homes they thought they were buying, but the buyers say it was all a scam.

Those 20 people say they paid Beato about $1 million total.

The Greater Hazleton Real Estate Association says it knows of about 50 victims.

Newswatch 16 talked to a man who says he and his family were duped by Beato.

A house on Locust Street in Hazleton was the dream home for a couple from New York.

Gregorio Rosario and his family had saved up to buy the home.

Rosario's uncle, Jose Santos, lives in the city and thought the house was perfect for the young family. He called the real estate agent listed on the property: Ignacio Beato. Santos knew Beato from church and trusted him.

Although Santos says he thought it was weird that Beato told his nephew to pay in cash: a total of $13,000 for the house.

Santos said Beato then gave Rosario a deed and a set of keys.

"My nephew, he wanted to buy a new house and make the American Dream. Now everything is gone because all that paperwork was fake," said Santos.

Santos said his nephew was so excited to move to Hazleton from Manhattan because he would finally have a big yard, but when that family got here and tried to put the new keys in the door, the keys didn't work.

Santos and his nephew called Beato again and again.

"He lied. He never answered the phone. He ran away."

Santos feels awful because he thought he could trust Beato since they're both from the Dominican Republic.

"He's one of us, so we think he's working for all the community," said Santos.

Rosario is now stuck in New York, out all that money and he can't afford to buy another home.

Santos said his nephew will now have to rent since he lost most of his money.

As for Beato, he has not been charged with any crime at this time, but state police are calling him a person of interest.

Newswatch 16 tried to reach out to Beato, but he is nowhere to be found.