Being a real estate agent is a taxing occupation with no guarantee of financial success. The unpredictability of housing markets often weighs heavily on the minds of realtors, whose livelihood can drastically change overnight. Sometimes, their methods of coping with that stress are less than ideal.
The following ten entries examine unscrupulous and depraved characters whose appalling antics will leave one questioning whether to hand over their keys to a “trusted” real estate agent. You might just be better off listing your home as for sale by owner.
In a competitive and volatile housing market, brokers can become resentful, disloyal, and quite unhinged. Case in point: summer 2018 in Hong Kong, where, within a span of a few days, three violent brawls spilled out into the streets, with hordes of brokers fighting each other for customers and listings. The vicious, competition-fueled clashes have caused the Estate Agents Authority (EAA) to investigate the matter in an attempt to find a resolution to the loathing and violence. The EAA concluded that agents who indulge in future throwdowns are subject to having their licenses revoked for up to three years.
In the Western world, hostility between brokers is a little more subtle but still involves illegal activity. In 2012, Nathan Andrew Dunham of Sarasota, Florida, was arrested after he was caught stealing competitors’ signs outside their firms and along residential sidewalks. When asked by a deputy to open his trunk, the 29-year-old broker had an impressive stash of 37 signs belonging to local realtors. Though not as determined as Dunham, 60-year-old Cape Cod realtor James Regan III was booked into jail in 2016 after he, too, was caught stealing around a dozen signs. Both men were charged with two counts of petty larceny, leaving their licenses hanging in the balance.
It is safe to assume that one of the last places expected to be a den for trafficking narcotics would be a realty firm in a quiet neighborhood. Such was the case in Chetek, Wisconsin, in 2017, after Quinlan Thomas, 53, was busted for selling methamphetamine to a police confidential informant at Chetek Realty, LLC. His arrest came after an investigation conducted by the Barron County Sheriff’s Office that spanned several months.
However, nothing can be quite absurd as what occurred in Cleveland, Ohio, where a respected real estate agent was arrested for peddling meth to his associates. Reminiscent of the debauchery seen in The Wolf of Wall Street, 37-year-old Robert McCann and his colleagues “consistently engaged in coded conversations,” referring to the life-siphoning narcotic as “ice,” “rice,” or “wine.”
In 2015, despite the fact that his well-known image was plastered all over local news outlets, McCann conceitedly went on to open a new realty branch, First National in Cleveland, in spite of his pending trial. Interestingly enough, homeowners were still handing their keys over to him regardless of the possibility that if convicted, he would not only be stripped of his license but incarcerated as well. As if to pull on the public’s heartstrings, McCann stated that his surprising downfall was solely due to the stress he endured following the “breakdown of a relationship.” How endearing.
Love is often blind not only to the eye but to one’s logic. The following cases, however, may be more about kinky exploits rather than actual love. Such was the case in 2016 for 22-year-old Houston-area realtor Kayla Marisa Seloff, who was caught getting it on in the home of one of her clients. Responding to a possible burglary, police discovered Seloff and a male companion in a “passionate rendezvous” on the floor in one of the rooms of the vacant residence. In the end, the adoring duo was charged with criminal trespass after her former client pressed charges.
Surprisingly, such raunchy bedroom acrobatics in listed homes are nothing new and are, frankly, more common than one may realize. In 2013, New Jersey realtor Robert Lindsey intentionally overpriced his client’s house with the sole purpose of using it as his personal sex pad with a fellow broker. Sadly, the coworkers’ sexual escapades came to an abrupt end after they were caught by security cameras, playing out their fantasies on the homeowner’s bed.
The award for indecency and mistrust, however, goes to Michigan agent Scott Adlhoch, who had sex in at least six homes. According to reports, between 2013 and 2015, instead of showing his clients’ homes to potential buyers, he was too busy getting a cardio workout in their beds. Even more audacious is the fact that he allowed a female companion to conduct therapy sessions with her professional counselor in at least two of the homes. For Adlhoch, his perverse heyday ended after a fellow realtor intercepted his wife’s texts detailing their scandalous trysts. Love is blind . . .
In 2013, dissatisfied and perturbed with their previous realtor, a couple in Arlington, Virginia, hired 60-year-old Stephen Brumme as their new agent to list their home. From all appearances, Brumme was the perfect match for an apprehensive household, given the facade of his frail and calm demeanor. Nonetheless, webcams installed throughout the home captured an unsettling perversion.
While the couple was away, Brumme entered the house and, in a hasty manner, headed straight for the master bedroom. As the cameras rolled, Brumme could be seen rifling through the wife’s closet and underwear drawer like a child rummaging through a mountainous pile of gifts on Christmas morning. Perplexed by the variety of colorful and fragrant selections to choose from, the decrepit, dirty old man eventually settled on a negligee. Clenching his newfound keepsake, Brumme left the residence to partake in extracurricular activities too disgusting to think of or imagine. While he was busy sampling his memento as one would do at a perfume kiosk, police were viewing the footage brought into them by the distressed couple.
Following his inevitable arrest, the deviant sniffer was convicted of unlawful entry and petit larceny and placed on supervised probation. In addition, the judge ordered him to forfeit his real estate license for a minimum of two years. Perhaps what’s most troubling, other than a lenient sentence, is that police believed there were others who were missing panties, bras, and other lingerie. They appealed to recent sellers in the area to come forward.
In 2015, a popular Daytona Beach realtor had quite the Sunday afternoon following a blissful day of boozing. At the end of the bender, 49-year-old Aswinder “Aswin” Suri made the decision to return home, albeit blind drunk. Less than an hour later, Ponce Inlet officers were called to a residence, where they encountered Suri being pinned down on the living room floor by two men.
Believing he had arrived at his destination, an “extremely intoxicated” Suri had erroneously entered a stranger’s home through an unlocked garage door. As expected, the pickled agent was taken to the police station, where his belligerence hit an all-time high. At first, Suri professed his love for the officers, whom he considered “family,” all while sobbing like a baby. Moments later, after he was placed in a glass holding cell, Dr. Jekyll emerged with a barrage of charming insults and obscenities. Suri was booked on charges of trespassing.
Predictably, this would not be Suri’s first or last run-in with the law. The year prior, he was arrested for aggravated battery of his girlfriend, and in 2016, he was detained by Daytona Beach police for refusing to pay a $445 bar tab at the Lollipops gentlemen’s club. Once again, the inebriated realtor was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail, this time on charges of grand theft between $300 and $500.
In 2017, while repairing a computer for a client in Kane County, Utah, an electronic specialist came across a vast amount of alarming photographs. Once authorities were alerted, further forensic examination found hundreds of images of prepubescent girls as well as surreptitiously taken pictures of local children and women who were unknowingly stalked and photographed.
Aside from his female coworkers, the owner of the computer—an unidentified 49-year-old local realtor—apparently zeroed in on one woman in particular: his neighbor. According to the search warrant:
It’s obvious that [the woman] has no knowledge that she’s being photographed by [the man]. It’s evident that [the man] has a fascination with [her]. It appears that [the man] is stalking [her] because he has cut and pasted images of [her] from their original state to images of young nude women. Some of these images are pornographic.
Even more disturbing is the fact that the agent was taking pictures of framed photographs of children and adolescent females while in the homes which he was in the process of selling. In addition, the warrant goes on to state that the realtor “had been entering other people’s homes and multiple bedrooms and hanging women’s underwear on his genitals and committing sex acts.”
Due to the fact that the case was still under investigation, the man was never identified nor arrested in spite of the overwhelming evidence. Prior to being charged with an actual crime, he chose to expedite his looming doom by blowing his brains out, bringing an end to his debauchery.
In 2005, Greg and Lenae Thomas settled on a home for $640,000, but at the last minute, they chose a different realtor due to concerns with the terms of their agent’s contract. Three years later, Sandra Haddad, 49, would seek retribution for the commission she lost. After recruiting four 13-year-old boys, two of them family friends, Haddad sent the youths to the Thomases’ residence armed with vegetable oil and spray paint. As the couple vacationed, the boys smashed windows and outside lights, spray-painted vulgar language and images on the walls and fence, and permanently stained the driveway with oil, totaling $17,000 in damages. In time, the identity of the culprits came to light. The boys were charged as juveniles with felony criminal mischief, while Haddad saw handcuffs and the back of a squad car.
With the cards verily stacked against her, not to mention the boys’ immediate confession, a sullen Haddad pleaded guilty to four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and a misdemeanor count of criminal mischief. As part of her plea deal, she was ordered to serve 200 hours of community service removing graffiti, 15 days of home detention, and four years of supervised probation as well as to attend anger management classes and pay the Thomases $17,075 in retribution. To top off an exhilarating summer, the Thomases filed a restraining order as well as a pricey lawsuit against her.
Dogs are allowed to roam freely in Batesville, Mississippi, given the fact that there are no leash laws in the county. This lack of restrictions, however, became a nuisance for a local realtor, who decided to thin out the herd of domesticated animals in 2013. Using meat mixed with the pesticide Temik, Brad McCulley placed the delectable toxin in Styrofoam cups, which he then spread throughout the district.
Overnight, local residents, including some of McCulley’s neighbors, awoke to find their dogs and cats in a state of rigor mortis. Based on how much of the poison was ingested, those that did not swiftly succumb to the effects of the pesticide suffered a horrendously painful demise. To make matters worse, the poison had the potential to spread even after the death of the animals. According to Dr. Justin Unruh, “If one animal ingests it, then another animal consumes that animal, potentially it could be devastating.”
Following the death of at least 12 household pets, Panola County investigators arrested McCulley on charges of administering the toxin. Sadly, the charges did little to console Jenny Herron, who lost two of her dogs to McCulley’s diabolic actions. “It’s just heartbreaking, and I absolutely hope that nobody has to witness or go through this,” she said.
On January 1, 2017, investigators were called to the scene of an empty California home that was set ablaze. The following day, the bodies of the home’s owner, 59-year-old Yolanda Holtrey, and her friend, 49-year-old Michelle Luke, were found in a desolate field in Newport Beach. That day, Christopher Ireland, 37, was taken into custody on suspicion of murder. Ireland, who was a real estate agent planning on listing Holtrey’s home, celebrated New Year’s Eve with the victims along with his wife, Samantha, before leaving at 1:30 AM. During questioning, Samantha claimed that she had no recollection of her husband leaving their home in the early hours of the morning and believed that he might have been sleepwalking.
What Samantha did not know was that while she was waiting with her family in Holtrey’s driveway prior to leaving, her husband was inside bludgeoning and disfiguring the women. Later, as she slept, Ireland lined the trunk of his car and returned to the blood-splattered home at 3:00 AM to discard the bodies. The reasons as to why a festive night of celebration ended in such a horrifying manner remain unknown. As for Ireland, he was formally charged on January 4 for the murder of his client and her friend.
In September 1998, 39-year-old Rosalba Contreras arrived at the San Pedro home of Valentine Partida to discuss missing finances pertaining to real estate fraud. (She had stolen the money from Partida and his wife.) Contreras had known the 78-year-old man for three years, yet her betrayal was far beyond reconciliation. When heated words escalated to a fight, Contreras bludgeoned Partida to death with a hammer. Thereafter, she entered Partida’s bedroom, where his 90-year-old wife Elvira lay bedridden, helplessly anticipating her fate. In a futile attempt to hide her crime, Contreras set the home ablaze, only after stabbing the powerless woman multiple times in the upper body. It wouldn’t be long until police linked Contreras to the murders, earning her two life terms in prison.
In 2009 in Los Angeles, a real estate agent was preparing to show a foreclosed home when she discovered the body of a fellow realtor laying dead on the floor. In a bizarre twist, the victim was Contreras’s brother Ricardo, 45, who had, ironically, been stabbed to death. According to family members, Ricardo had gone to show prospective buyers the home on the day he went missing. To date, his murder has yet to be solved, and although police see no immediate evidence tying his death to his sister’s butchery, questions continue to loom.
Adam is just a hubcap trying to hold on in the fast lane.