The Nine Naughtiest Real Estate Agents in History

In an inaugural sort of “Human Nature” roundup for the last century and seven years, we stooped to the naughty and outrageous. We didn’t go for the buttoning up.

Of course this doesn’t mean these people are creepy because they are real estate agents. They are creepy people who happen to be in real estate.

In the long run, who will history judge as the naughtiest real estate agent? Here are our top 9 guesses.

1. Real Estate Agent Arrested: Woman Accuses Howard D. Van Sant of Embezzlement

What I like about this one in particular are the prices and the language. The prices: “Van Sant agreed to sell her a piece of property at Island Heights for $450.” The language: Mrs. Cuppers swears up to the present she’s received but $75.

That’s like small claims stuff, right? Remember, this is in the year 1901.

2. Police Arrest Real Estate Agent in Raids on Pot-Growing Homes……21 pot growing homes to be exact.

Hoang was one of 15 people arrested in the raids, which followed a 10-month investigation. Police seized 6,855 marijuana plants, 36 pounds of processed marijuana, more than $200,000 in cash and 10 vehicles.

3. Real Estate Agent Arrested for Arson: Herman Jonas Accused of Setting Fire to an Apartment House

This is another one from the early 1900s:

There was great excitement at a fire which started in the five-story apartment house, 16 East One Hundred and Ninth Street, at 10:30 o’clock last evening, terminating with an arrest on the charge of arson. The accused man is Herman Jonas, a real estate broker, who has an office at 111 Rivington Street.

4. Man Profiled in WSJ Is Freed In Nicaraguan Murder Case

American Eric Volz, a surfer turned real-estate broker who serving a 30-year jail term in Nicaraguan prison, was ordered freed Monday after an appeals court threw out his conviction in the murder of his Nicaraguan lover. [Note: Subscription required to read entire article.]

5. Kidnapped Boy Found; Stolen by Ex-Broker:

Another story from the dustbin, this time 1906: J.J. Kean of New York abducted Philadelphia jeweler’s son…hiding him in a vacant house. The police eventually capture the “thief” at “pistol point.” Seems this “robber” stole more than just little boys: Two years before he “abducted” $20,000 from a Harlem bank. The blow-by-blow narrative, complete with dialog, is worth the read.

6. Realtor Leader Of Arson Ring Headed To Prison

Sixty-one year old James Insinga gets ten years and must pay over $400,000. In one case, Insinga had solicited an individual to purchase a home, furnish it, place insurance on it and then burn it.

Naughty, naughty.

7. Three Accused of Stealing More Than $2 Million Dollars from Lenders Using False Documents

The mastermind behind this scheme, Eric Braun, created a non-existent straw buyer, “Seth Davis,” who he’d later say “left the country with all the money.” Braun’s accomplice, Noah Yates, ran a website that said people legally can eliminate their mortgages. Prosecutors allege that the Web site Yates created was meant to make the venture, and “Seth Davis,” look legitimate. Yates and Braun said they got the idea for such transactions by attending a seminar held by a Bay Area group that is in trouble with federal authorities. And here’s how they got busted: after taking a look at Braun, who showed up in a new Cadillac Escalade, Morris, the lender who was being scammed, said the brokers began to think they had been taken…because the young man didn’t seem sophisticated enough to be a businessman who needed to pay off a palimony lawsuit, as he claimed.

8. Crazy Realtor Torments Rival with Sex Ads

In December 2007, Dean “Cookie Kwan” Isenberg was arrested and charged with “posting fake escort ads on the Internet using a rival’s phone numbers, sparking hundreds of raunchy calls” and text messages to the woman and her daughter. The victim, Debbie Blasberg, was a former coworker of Isenberg’s who had “closed on a property he had been trying to sell.” Yikes.

9. Creepy Real Estate Agents Walk a Fine Privacy Line

No peeping Tom here. But questionable behavior to say the least. A pair of real estate agents sent out a calendar to a homeowner with a photo of his home on the calendar. What I’d like to know is, when did they take the photo…and was he home? This would tee me off. What about you?

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