Sunday, August 31, 2003

Lured into investing, left with shabby rentals


Earl Woods, Lower Price Hill

[IMAGE] Earl Woods and one of the homes he invested in.
(Gary Landers photo)
| ZOOM |
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.

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.

SPECIAL REPORT
TODAY:
Questionable home loan deals are contributing to record foreclosures.
Home schemes, broken dreams
High-interest loans jeopardized their home
Fliers and signs popping up on streets
Papers she can't read gave away her home
She owned, now rents family home of 100 years
Novice owner put faith in her former teacher
Subprime loans carry high risks, high rates

MONDAY:
West and East Price Hill are prime examples of how foreclosures contribute to a neighborhood's decline.
ONLINE EXTRAS:
Search Greater Cincinnati property records and use a mortgage calculator to see how much home you can afford
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.




SPECIAL REPORT: FORECLOSURES
Home schemes, broken dreams
High-interest loans jeopardized their home
Fliers and signs popping up on streets
Papers she can't read gave away her home
She owned, now rents family home of 100 years
Novice owner put faith in her former teacher
Lured into investing, left with shabby rentals
Subprime loans carry high risks, high rates

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