Patricia Verlino, a south Florida resident, thought she lost the chance of buying her dream home after a wire fraud scam duped her out of a $63,000 down payment—her life savings.
But more than $30,000 in crowdfunding donations from strangers and the community helped her partially recover funds and still close on her home.
A growing number of home buyers are facing the threats of wire fraud in a real estate transaction, but in many of these cases, the result ends with the buyer out an entire down payment and unable to purchase a home.
Verlino realizes she was lucky that others came to her rescue by donating money after Fox News initially told her wire fraud scam story. Verlino had worked multiple jobs for years to save up for the $63,000 down payment and was eager to purchase a condo for her and her daughters.
Her real estate transaction seemed to be going smoothly. She received an email that appeared from her original title company that provided instructions of how to wire her funds prior to closing. She followed the directions.
But the email was fake.
Verlino’s two payments—which totaled $63,000—were wired to a scammer instead.
It was “the worst thing you can go through,” Verlino told Fox News.
Verlino reported the case to police. She was able to recover $30,000 before the wire transfer was finalized. She lost the other half of her money, but she did not have enough to close on the house. However, after help from the community, strangers, and industry professionals, Verlino was able to raise the funds needed to close.
“It’s a wonderful feeling when you see a team of industry professionals come together for the greater good,” Kevin Tacher, owner of the title insurance company Independence Title, told Fox News. A local furniture company, City Furniture, also donated furniture for her children’s bedroom.