Louisiana Man Charged in $2 Million Nationwide Advertising Scheme to Defraud Realtors
Harris defrauded hundreds of realtors nationwide whom he promised television and internet advertising to generate home sales
A Louisiana man has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, PA on charges of mail fraud, U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton for the Western District of Pennsylvania announced.
The 11-count indictment named Rex Alan Harris, of Covington, Louisiana, doing business as "Agents By City." The indictment alleges that, since 2008, Harris defrauded hundreds of realtors nationwide whom he promised television and internet advertising to generate home sales.
Harris—who was arrested this week in Louisiana—is also known to have gone by the names of Michael Harris, Rex Rogan and Rex Alan.
According to the indictment, Realtors were persuaded by Harris and his company to pay thousands of dollars for advertising on major television networks based upon the realtors' zip codes. However, the advertising never occurred and Harris and others spent the money for their personal benefit including purchases of tens of thousands of dollars in merchandise through PayPal, Footlocker, Nike.com, and even New Orleans Saints season tickets.
In total, Harris is said to have spent in excess of $2 million of client funds.
Any Realtor nationwide who paid money to any of the following entities –Our Family First Realty, Better Realty Deals, Amazing Realty Deals, The Top Agent/Monolith Media Group, American Real Estate Idols or Agents by City—may be victims of Harris and are encouraged to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) hotline at (800) CALL-FBI or 1-800-2255-324.
Harris faces a total of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each count of the indictment. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Harris is scheduled to be arraigned on May 23, 2016 in U.S. District Court in Western Pennsylvania.