The real estate market is bubbling these days more than ever, both on the sales and the rent fronts. As prices go up and demand rises, especially in big cities, the basic right for a roof over one’s head becomes much more of a financial burden. This is despite a bit of cooling down during the first couple of waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beside the uncontrollable rise in prices, this market has become somewhat of a safe haven for scammers and crooks. When the rush to buy or rent becomes so dominant, some might take advantage of the atmosphere in order to sell nothing but dreams. That is why it is especially important to expose a new scam which has been exposed in Las Vegas, Nevada, and its suburbs.
According to testimonies published recently on Ripoff Report, the scammers typically prey on people looking to rent properties, especially those with limited funding. Potential renters are promised a comprehensive housing solution, including property rent and management fees, all in one place. A few months’ rent is charged in advance, alongside a deposit that is unusually large and can reach a few tens of thousands of dollars.
After receiving the money, the scammers do not keep their end of the bargain. The properties are nothing like what was originally promised, with “poor and dangerous construction and electrical problems,” according to one reviewer. The scammers refuse to handle tenants’ complaints and sometimes do not even answer the phone at all.
That is not all, though, because tenants are also complaining about their deposit money not being returned to them at the end of the term, as it is supposed to by law, once again leaving them with no one to turn to. One such real estate agency reported to be operating this way is Plasim Home, owned and headed by Avi Zalman.
“Avi Zalman is a crook that steals deposit money, and then lie, lie and lie again,” commented one of the reviewers, who described the home that was rented to him as dangerously neglected: “Internal electric problems, fire hazards and water pipes breaking” were his or her words.
Investors, contractors and suppliers beware
Few reviewers have also claimed that Zalman fails to pay everyone involved in the process, such as contractors he hires, investors who take part in his project, and so on. When the profits fail to arrive, Zalman reportedly disappears, and the hard-working suppliers can only dream about seeing any payment for the work they’ve done.
Despite everything mentioned above, both Avi Zalman and his firm Plasim home continue their business as usual. Their website even lists properties for sale and for rent, at the time of writing. It is not known whether a police investigation has been opened into this matter, but according to yet another reviewer, Zalman has already managed to steal around 300,000 USD of unreturned deposit money.
Crimes in Israel
While these claims are not to be taken light-heartedly, what is more bothersome is the fact that Zalman is also involved in an alleged bribery scandal in his homeland of Israel. Gabby Paran, Former mayor of the city of Ramat Hasharon, one of Tel Aviv’s suburbs was found guilty of taking a bribe from Plasim Development and Building, owned by Zalman. A plea bargain was signed at the end, and Paran was convicted of fraud and breach of trust. Zalman managed to have his name deleted from the case, as a result of the bribery charges being dropped after the plea bargain.
All in all, this is a clear warning sign that business with Avi Zalman and Plasim Homes is not recommended. Furthermore, it is a sign that renters and buyers in the Las Vegas metropolitan area should be careful of who they do business with, because we don’t yet know exactly how many other scammers are employing this method.