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Troubleshooters: Fred Rich - KZTV10.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

Troubleshooters: Fred Rich

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PORTLAND -

We continue our series of reports on Portland businessman Fred Rich.  A convicted felon who's built a considerable real estate portfolio in Nueces and San Patricio counties.

On January 4th 2006, in U-S District Court, Rich pled guilty to mail fraud and money laundering charges.  He was ordered to pay $629,000 in restitution to six companies and sentenced to 50 months in federal prison.  Court records show he was released in October 2008.

Three months later, in January of 2009, Jesse and Thelma Lopez bought their house on Panama Street from Fred Rich.  "I had no idea that you had to have a license in order to be a real estate agent and sell properties," Lopez told the Troubleshooters.  

In July 2016, the Lopez's sued Rich, accusing him of fraud and violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.  Their case against him is pending. Fred Rich has a considerable real estate portfolio.

More than one hundred properties in Nueces and San Patricio counties, under various names.  According to Coleen Walker, who says she was Rich's accountant for six months, the names include New Wave Properties, Safeguard Investments, Coastal Homes, Private Investors, The Fred Rich Trust,  Multiple Investments, North Shore Leasing, VAH Investments, and they're all run out of his office on Lang Road in Portland.

The Troubleshooters have been to Rich's office twice, to allow him an opportunity to give us his side of our stories.  Both times he's been unavailable.  We've left our contact information, but no one has responded.    

Since hearing the Lopez's story, the Troubleshooters have submitted Open Records Requests to local, state, and federal agencies, including the FBI and IRS, for information on Fred Rich.

In response, the Texas Real Estate Commission wrote that Fred Rich does not have a current Texas real estate license.  

In September 2015, the Texas Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending issued Rich a Cease and Desist order.  The order says in part that their investigation showed Rich 'engaged in unlicensed residential mortgage loan origination activity.'  He paid a $25,000 fine.  

Under state law, a person who has plead guilty to a felony involving fraud can't be licensed.  As mentioned earlier, Rich plead guilty to fraud and money laundering in 2006, and because he's not licensed, Rich can't make more than five transactions a year.  

But, Coleen Walker says he has.  "Fred should know that I know what's going on."  In our next report, a local couple claims Fred Rich forged their signature on paperwork.

They've moved out of the house they bought from him, and lost thousands of dollars in the process.  Many of you are contacting us with stories about your experience with Rich.  We're checking them out, and we will continue giving him an opportunity to give us his side of these stories.

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