San Francisco, California — Andrew August of Brown George Ross, attorney for 425 Belvedere Associates, LLC, filed suit last Friday in Marin County seeking to recover damages in excess of $12 million from real estate firms Weichert Realtors and Alain Pinel Realtors and their respective agents, Kim Farina and Stephanie Lamarre. The suit claims that they “fraudulently induced Plaintiff to chase a $34 million purchase /sales transaction with their client, who the brokers knew or should have known was either totally fictitious or a fraud of epic proportions.”
The suit goes on to say that “over the course of several months, the broker Defendants misled the Plaintiff and its broker about the Defendants’ client, the existence of the purchase funds and Defendants’ client ability to perform under the purchase/sale agreement. Ms. Farina would not disclose her client’s name (the offer was made through a trust), “but she did say he was a 50+/- year old man who came to the United States as a teenager and was a U.S. citizen. According to Ms. Farina, he had inherited hundreds of millions of dollars from a relative who was involved in a coup in Africa.”
In a twist right out of a spy novel, “Ms. Farina also alluded to a national security concern about her client’s identity.” The suit continues, “the brokers repeatedly used references to the CIA (and its newly named Director John Brennan), the FBI, Congress, national security, a Federal District Court Judge and other ‘Tom Clancy-esque’ words and phrases to both hide the identity and build the credibility of their purported buyer and explain his difficulties in delivering the $34 million purchase price as required.”
The extensive backgrounds of the individual real estate agents added much credibility to their stories. Kim Farina is a Regional Vice President and 20-year veteran of Weichert managing 8 offices in the Washington DC area. Stephanie Lamarre is a high-producing agent for Alain Pinel Realtors in Marin County, California. She has degrees from Princeton University and Stanford Law School.
According to attorney Andrew August, “There never was a real buyer and there never were any funds as represented. The most telling thing about this case is that despite repeated requests to the Realtors and their lawyers to provide documentation that would validate their client, his bank accounts, and the bases for the brokers’ supposed personal knowledge—even with the promise that no lawsuit would be filed if they cooperated—no documents and no names were ever provided.”