CLEVELAND - An exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation uncovers an elaborate housing scam, a cross-country search and a decades old mystery that unravels a scam that cashed in on Cleveland.
And at the center of it, how one woman is now helping to expose alleged housing fraud involving hundreds of investors who believed they were revitalizing Cleveland neighborhoods.
Angela Raisian is not only an aerospace engineer who is fluent in four languages, but she's also a licensed real estate broker who believed she and scores of other investors, were investing in a program that would turn around neighborhoods hard hit by foreclosures.
Instead, she lost $25,000, and is now convinced that she and hundreds of other investors were scammed by a California-based company that was cashing in on Cleveland's foreclosure crisis.
Raisian attended a real estate investment seminar sponsored by USA Wealth Institute and EZ Access Funding based in Newport Beach, California.
Raisian describes how she and other investors were sold on a program they were told would rehab foreclosed Cleveland homes that could later be sold for a profit. Later, she discovered the company never delivered on its promises and abruptly closed its doors.
"I know a lot of investors invested in more than one property, and paid from $25,000 up to several hundred thousands of dollars," Raisian said.
Raisian discovered the scam when she began asking questions related to her investment and homes she was considering purchasing.
"I ended up looking into properties being purchased and they ended up being really, really, dilapidated properties in the worst neighborhoods." But repeated calls to the company went unanswered.
Our exclusive investigation found EZ Access Funding bought at least 129 homes in Cleveland since 2008, and 82 cases are now in housing court--facing at least $335,000 in housing code violations and $575,000 in real estate taxes that were never paid. But that's not all-- every day that goes by when the company fails to respond results in contempt citations. So far, EZ Access Funding has piled up $32 million worth of contempt of court sanctions.
[Click here for a map of EZ Access-owned properties in the Cleveland area http://on.wews.com/xTA0qQ]
And our exclusive investigation uncovered much more--those behind EZ Access Funding seemed to vanish into thin air.
But our cross-country hunt, three states and a mystery going back decades unlocked a key secret that led to a surprising confrontation.
Join us for our exclusive report beginning Wednesday on NewsChannel5 at 11.