Editor’s Note: This story has been updated from the Feb. 8 version, which mistakenly stated the property that was fraudulently put up for sale was Carolyn Lee’s home. That statement was wrong; the fraud was perpetuated on other property she owns in Columbia County. The Augusta Press regrets the error and is happy to make this correction.
An Evans homeowner was the victim of identity theft, part of a fraudulent attempt to put her house up for sale, according to a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office report.
On Jan. 17, Carolyn Lee called the Sheriff’s Office to respond to a “suspicious situation” regarding property she owns in Columbia County. Lee told the dispatched officer that her husband, Roy Lee, had gone to check on the property the previous day and found a person taking pictures of it.
Roy Lee asked this person what they were doing, and the subject replied that the property was up for sale by Carolyn Lee. The subject left when Roy Lee responded that the house was, in fact, not for sale.
An incident report from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office goes on to say that later that evening, Carolyn Lee searched her property’s address on Google to find it listed for sale. When she checked again the following morning, the property was listed as off the market, though it was still listed on a real estate page on Facebook.
The report also says that Carolyn Lee’s attempt to contact the listing broker, Bradley Real Estate Group, was to no avail. An agent with the real estate firm told the investigating officer that she had been in contact with an individual claiming to be Carolyn Lee who was aiming to sell the property, and that she had no other information on the subject.
Neither Carolyn Lee nor Bradley Real Estate Group would comment on the situation, though the group’s owner Antonio Bradley acknowledged that listings from fraudulent parties are not uncommon in the business.
The incident report noted that Carolyn and Ray Lee intend to pursue charges.
Skyler Q. Andrews is a staff reporter covering business for The Augusta Press. Reach him at email@example.com.
Responsible real estate agents should vet people attempting to list a house for sale by asking them for state-issued ID, like a driver’s license, or asking them to sign a permission form to conduct criminal and financial background checks.
Just read the article about the Ramada Inn not being for sale and found this. “It is a violation of Georgia Real Estate Commission rules to advertise a property for sale without first having an agreement in writing according to Chapter 520-1-.09 section 3.” Does the Bradley Real Estate Group use Wayne Brown for legal advice?
Tedd, with all due respect, we tend to qualify people for listings by their access to and judgment regarding their knowledge of the property that they are selling. I have a hard time understanding how the fake “Carolyn” had access to the house unless it’s more than just identity theft. It would be interesting to hear more from Mr. Bradley regarding the key situation.
Regarding the key I have read in national news where people drill out the lock and install a new one so they do have access to the property . When property sits vacant nefarious people come out of the wood work . At the condos where I am an owner these people will list an empty unit for sale or rent they will then go to the internet and find pictures of the inside of any unit there and post those pictures as belonging to that unit .I was on the board there for over 15 years so I’ve seen the inside of most and could tell it was a fraud but the average person could not . There is fraud everywhere
why does the realtor not check to see ownership of property before listing? this would seem to be “common” sense