House Selling TipsWhat's New August 2, 2023

Vacant Land Selling Fraud Alert

Dear Vacant Land Owner,

This vacant land selling fraud alert is a Public Service Announcement to warn you about a new kind of con game happening across the country.

If you own vacant land or property, be aware that scammers are fraudulently selling and developing properties without your knowledge or consent.

These con artists typically target properties that have no mortgage and an owner who is out of town. They control both the selling and buying/developing part of the transaction, so both sides of the deal are in on the scheme.

Selling Vacant Land Fraud in Connecticut

This scam happened to Dr. Daniel Kenigsberg, a Long Island resident who owned a half-acre parcel of family land in Fairfield, CT. He had no intention of selling or developing the land; he hoped to pass it on to his children someday.

However, in May 2023, a shocking call came from a childhood friend: a house was under construction on his property. Dr. Kenigsberg rushed to Fairfield and saw what had happened. The developer had cleared the land and was completing a 4,000-square-foot four-bedroom house.

Someone from South Africa, claiming to be the seller, sold the land for $350,000 in October 2022. A Trumbull lawyer named Anthony Monelli, facilitated the sale with “power of attorney.” The buyers were Sky Top Partners, owned by Gina Leto and Greg Bugaj, who listed the house under construction for sale at $1.5 million.

Dr. Kenigsberg filed a lawsuit in federal court to void the 2022 sale and recover damages and compensation up to $2 million. The Fairfield police are conducting a criminal investigation into the fraud. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants should have known that the sale was fraudulent and unauthorized by the real Dr. Kenigsberg.

How to Prevent Vacant Land Selling Fraud

Vacant land selling fraud is happening all across the country, and the world. It involves impersonation, forgery, and sophisticated land transactions that can evade detection by online records or fraud alert services.

If you own a vacant land in Connecticut, here are some tips to protect yourself from seller fraud:

  • Regularly check your property for any signs of development or trespassing.
  • Ensure the town clerk and assessor has your current contact information.
  • Monitor your credit reports and bank statements for any suspicious activity.
  • Consider using a title insurance company or a lawyer to safeguard your property rights.
  • Report any suspicious activity or transactions to the police and the state attorney general.

Keep Track of Your Property

Vacant land selling fraud is a serious crime that can rob you of your property and your peace of mind. To keep it from happening to you, be vigilant and proactive about your land ownership. If you suspect fraud, alert law enforcement, and seek legal help.

And if you really do want to sell, you’ll know who you can trust (me, Marj Clark) to make sure a REAL buyer is purchasing it. 😉


About Marj Clark, Realtor & Housing Guide

Marj Clark, CT Realtor & Housing Guide with Coldwell Banker North Haven, CTMarj is a lifelong resident of Connecticut, and an active member of the Hamden Regional Chamber of Commerce. She knows local and State markets well, and all the treasures Connecticut has to offer.

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