In March 2017, Florida Realtors warned members that the “Florida Board of Realtors” does not exist after members from across the state said they received a bill from the group.
The bill said it was a “Final Notice” and that real estate licenses were in jeopardy, claiming “Failure to respond with your 2017 Agent Board Listing may lead to closure of board listing. Response required to be included in the Agency listing.”
It appears the sender of that mail has now been identified. The Florida Office of the Attorney General has filed a complaint in Jacksonville alleging violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act against two companies and their owner. The state seeks civil penalties, consumer restitution, attorney’s fees and injunctions.
The case will be heard in the 4th Judicial Circuit by Judge Virginia Norton. According to the complaint, Alfredo Zambrano, owner of Florida Regulation Enforcement Council and Florida Real Estate Council LLC, violated the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
Zambrano allegedly acted under the umbrella of the Florida Real Estate Council LLC when targeting agents, and up to160,000 real estate agents licensed in Florida allegedly received a scam solicitation. The mail was sent on a staggered basis from 2016 through 2017.
The mail piece identified the sender as the “Florida Board of Realtors,” but no agency has that name. The state association is Florida Realtors or Florida Association of Realtors.
Agents who received a fraudulent email were told to pay a $225 fee, answer a few questions about felony convictions, and return it to the “Board.” Failure to do so, according to the letter, would lead to revocation of their real estate license.
In addition to Florida real estate agents, Zambrano allegedly also operated under the “Florida Regulation Enforcement Council” name since 2014. In this activity, he allegedly targeted newly formed Florida corporations by sending deceptive mail to the names listed as contacts. Each piece of mail looked official and most asked for “certificates of status” payments.
Source: Jacksonville Daily Record, Max Marbut, associate editor
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