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Note to Self: Do Not Find Your Broker at a Flea Market

Marbella Salas said the trouble started when they met V.J. Singh, who said he was a representative for Prime Financial Group, in July 2004.

From the Modesto Bee:

“Salida couple is suing a group that offers real estate deals at a Ceres flea market, claiming that the company didn’t deliver on promises to sell their home and get them a better one. Instead, say Manuel and Marbella Salas, they have a new house with construction defects, haven’t sold their old home and have learned that the man who arranged the deals doesn’t have a real estate license.”

“I want people to know what they’re doing,” Marbella Salas said. “We had good credit, and now we’re getting notices from the electric company.”

Singh was set up at a card table at a weekend flea market near Whitmore Avenue in Ceres.

She said Singh’s assistant approached them about refinancing their Salida home, which they’d bought in 1998.
The couple’s mortgage payment was $2,200 a month; they bring home about $6,600 per month from Marbella’s position as an insurance specialist with AAA and Manuel’s job as a department manager at WinCo Foods.

Singh followed up with phone calls saying he could help them sell or rent their home and buy a bigger one elsewhere, and only increase their mortgage payment by $200 a month, the couple said. (note to self: wow, what a great deal! only $200 more a month, like magic!)

After they agreed to buy another house in Salida in December 2005 for about $500,000, they learned that the new mortgage would be $4,200 a month. (note to self: oh dios mio, how could it be! The dream of easy money, dashed like a drunken seagull craching into the rocky shore!)

Paperwork submitted for the loan raised other questions. Salas said the loan documents indicated that she and her husband made $16,000 a month — without proof such as a pay stub or W-2 tax form.

Gee, shocking that some guy with a fancy card table at the local flea market might turn out not to be, well, what he claimed to be. Just shocking. What’s happening to the world? I mean, I was just chatting with a fast-talking guy at a flea market who tells me if I give him $1000 he will turn it into $1 million dollars in just a few weeks. I just can’t imagine not doing this – I mean a million dollars in a week for a mere grand investment? Oh, how could I say no to this? Mama didn’t raise no fool. I know a dream deal when I hear one! I’m not sure why the flea-market scenario turned out so badly for this couple. I know in MY case, I’ll be a millionare in just a few weeks. Woo hoo!

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