Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Carmel on the Case: Investor Alert
A South Florida woman is behind bars tonight charged in an investment deal first exposed by Seven News investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case.
WSVN -- It seems there is a foreclosed home in almost every neighborhood, and while that's terrible for the owners, buying foreclosures can be an opportunity for investors.
Arma Gilead: "She said 'Arma, sometimes they're dirt cheap.'"
It was last October when Arma Gilead told us about her former friend Carla Ortiz. Arma works as a gift wrapper in a local department store. She says that's where she met Carla who convinced her she had the inside track on foreclosure deals.
Arma Gilead: "Because she said 'Arma, we're going to be some rich bitches,' and I said 'Really.'"
Arma says she gave Carla her son's entire college fund plus money she borrowed. More than $100,000 in all, and got nothing in return.
Arma Gilead: "I said 'Carla, what's going on,' and she said 'Alma, everything's fine.'"
We caught up with Carla at her Fort. Lauderdale home.
Carmel Cafiero: "I recognize you from your picture Carla. Carmel Cafiero form Channel 7. I'd like to know what happened to the $100,000 that Arma invested with you?"
Carla Ortiz: "What are you talking about?"
She took off without another word and later left town. Nearly a year passed and then Carla got busted.
Carla who was booked under the name Carla Gideon is now behind bars in the Broward County jail. She's facing a felony fraud charge for her dealings with Arma and four others. Among them, Fred Kennedy.
Fred Kennedy: "One day Carla came over and she said 'Hey, I have some foreclosed homes. These homes would then be sold to you at a very, very low amount under $10,000.'"
He says Carla was a neighbor who told him her job in a bank gave her an inside track. Kennedy says he invested 89 thousand dollars.
Carmel Cafiero: "And what did you get for your money?"
Fred Kennedy: "Absolutely nothing."
According to the police report, five victims invested $218,000 with Carla, and the Plantation Police Department says there may be more victims and more money lost.
Phil Toman: "With the number of victims we have and I believe she possibly got away with the amount of $500,000."
Arma meanwhile is still paying on the loans she took out, but is pleased her loss was not ignored by authorities.
Arma Gilead: "She caused me so much stress and my blood pressure would not stabilize, and when they told me she got caught, it was like a whole mountain lifted off me. I started smiling again, I was happy again."
Carmel Cafiero: "Carla was arrested in Largo, Florida. Police there say she was trying to buy pain pills by impersonating her doctor's secretary. She was brought back to Broward after authorities learned there was a warrant here for her arrest."
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