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[ATG] State takes action against Anderson real estate broker for pocketing buyers’ escrow money
Start Date: 4/12/2013 All Day
End Date: 4/12/2013
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS – The owner of Anderson-based P.R. Properties faces a licensing complaint and state lawsuit for allegedly running a rent-to-own scheme.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office filed the actions today against Roger Shoot, a real estate principal broker, who owns P.R. Properties which also does business as Anderson Homes. According to the filings, Shoot sold properties using rent-to-own agreements and subsequently collected and pocketed more than $8,750 of at least four buyers’ property insurance and tax payments.

“Our investigation revealed Mr. Shoot led consumers to believe they were buying a home and then unlawfully collected and squandered away their escrow payments,” said Gabrielle Owens, Deputy Director of the Attorney General’s Licensing Enforcement and Homeowner Protection Unit. “Often buyers invested their time and money into these properties before realizing their payments had been misused and their number one asset – homeownership – was unjustly taken.”

According to the filings, Shoot offered to sell properties to prospective buyers, but did not disclose he was the deeded owner of the majority of the homes. Shoot required buyers to submit, as part of their monthly payments, monies for property insurance and taxes.

Owens said bank statements revealed Shoot had an account to collect the monies, but used it to pay for personal expenses including food, prescriptions and gas. Shoot also never setup an escrow account as was promised to the buyers. In Indiana, only a financial institution or title insurance company can maintain a borrower's escrow account and other entities are prohibited from doing so.

Delinquent property insurance payments led to policies being cancelled and unpaid tax payments led to at least two properties being sold via tax sale – all without the buyers’ knowledge. According to the complaints, Shoot then misled county and court officials by having a former employee purchase both properties at tax sales which Shoot later redeemed. Owens said, often buyers would move into a home without knowing back taxes were owed on the property.

In one case, Shoot is accused of using an employee to notarize a land contract containing forged signatures including one from a man that had passed away 26 years prior.

In the civil lawsuit filed in Madison County, the state seeks an injunction, restitution, civil penalties and investigative costs. The Indiana Real Estate Commission will consider the licensing complaint against Shoot and determine what disciplinary action to take, if any. A date has not yet been set for this hearing.

Consumers who feel they have been ripped off should file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office by visiting www.IndianaConsumer.com or by calling 1-800-382-5516.

-30-

For copies of the complaints please email your request to Erin.Reece@atg.in.gov.

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