Earl Woods was trying to get his life back on track when he met Milton Trice. Trice promised Woods instant cash and steady monthly checks through property investing, Woods says.
Earl Woods and one of the homes he invested in.|
(Gary Landers photo)
| ZOOM |
According to Woods, Trice arranged the sale of three homes - two in Northside, a third in Madisonville - over a three-month period leading up to last Christmas.
The deal: Woods would purchase the homes, and Trice would help find tenants, collect rent checks and make needed repairs, Woods says. Woods would have to pay $2,000 a month in mortgage payments, but he would more than make that up in rent checks from tenants, he thought. Woods, a Lower Price Hill resident, also received $1,000 cash after closing each home purchase.
But trouble soon hit. Tenants moved out. Trice didn't make promised fix-ups. The homes are in disrepair.
Woods, 56, was forced to spend several thousand dollars he inherited from his mother on repairs. He can't sell the houses and worries they're headed to foreclosure.
All told, he paid $251,500 for three 19th-century houses the county auditor says are worth half that - $124,100.
FBI investigators are gathering evidence from Woods and dozens of inexperienced investors and homeowners in Greater Cincinnati in connection with a suspected mortgage scheme known as flipping.
While Trice arranged the three sales, he didn't own the properties. Two homes were owned by companies controlled by major investors Steve Minger and Dave Lockwood. A third was owned by other private investors, Gregg and Rose Faller. None returned phone calls.
All three closings were handled by Global Title of Sharonville, which the FBI raided in July.
Global Title has since conducted an audit and discovered nearly 30 suspect deals over the past three years, lawyer Rex Wolfgang says. He says Global will refuse all future deals brought by five investors, including Minger.
Trice didn't return repeated phone calls.
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