Former Augusta area residents victimized by fraud in real estate transfer

 

 

In a new twist on identity theft, someone made off with nearly a quarter million dollars Don and Abby Evans were due from the sale of their former West Lake home.

By the time the theft was discovered, the deed to the Martinez home had been transferred to the man who paid cash for the home on Aug. 10, Robert Pentecost.

The couple – out of money and property – have sued Pentecost. He in turn added the closing attorney for the real estate transaction, Vincent Davison, as a defendant.

Davison said this week he has been advised not to discuss the case. The attorneys for the Evanses and Pentecost also declined comment.

The couple and Pentecost were both represented by Real­tors in the sale of the Inverness Way home. Gardelle Lewis served as the Evanses’ power of attorney in the closing with Davison, who was hired by Pentecost.

Less than two hours after Lewis left Davison’s office with a check for $246,248 sealed in a FedEx package for the Evanses, someone e-mailed Davison requesting that the payment be wired to a bank.

The e-mail displayed the name Daniel E. Evans, the subject was “file 15-130” with the correct address of the Inverness Drive home, according to an affidavit sheriff’s Lt. James Young wrote to obtain a search warrant. Young wanted to find out who had the e-mail address used to steal the money.

After two e-mails, Davison responded that he couldn’t wire the money unless the $246,248 check was returned. The person wrote back claiming the check had already been torn up. Several more e-mails to Davison followed. The person requested a transfer to an account held by GC Investment and Logistics of Dallas. The bank, BBVA Compass, was in Addison, Texas.

The day after the closing, Davison wired the money.

When Evans took his check to a bank, he was told there had been a stop payment on the check, according to the lawsuit.

According to Young’s affidavit, it seemed logical that the person who defrauded the Evanses electronically intercepted Davison’s e-mail, which included the settlement statement, that he sent to all the parties before the Aug. 10 closing. In the e-mail, he had written “Daniel E. Evans.” Evans’ middle initial is “M”, according to Young’s affidavit.

Young would not discuss the case because it is still an active investigation.

The Evanses filed the Columbia County Superior Court lawsuit against Pentecost on Sept. 16. Pentecost added Davison as a defendant Oct. 21.

A hearing is set for Dec. 17.

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