A Michigan senior citizen embroiled in a fake “rent-to-own” house scam and, as a result, faced eviction in 2021, will now have the opportunity to buy the dream home. The grandmother, who worked with her local housing court to come up with an agreement, will use donations from an anonymous donor to purchase the home flat out.
June Walker will not be losing her three-bedroom bungalow.
Last year, the 65-year-old was endangered by being put out of the house she thought was her home. She reportedly started paying $550 a month in 2019, to a man who reportedly claimed to work for her landlord.
That landlord had offered her a “land contract” with an option to buy a lease that was tailored specifically to fit her needs according to her income on what she thought was a $15,000 house. Believing it was hers, she poured thousands of dollars from her savings and her disability check into upgrades in the home.
The fake agreement suggested her last payment, supposedly giving her full ownership of the house, was in April 2021. But that didn’t prove to be the case.
“When I made the last payment,” she reflected. “I was running around the house, just thanking God. I was a homeowner.”
In June 2021, she realized she was being scammed, after the actual owner of the house, a Florida-based real estate company called Boccafe LLC, contacted her with an eviction notice. Walker had been a victim of a con job that took advantage of people with compromised credit and low income.
Her plight made national news, as platforms like NBC News and Outlier Media launched an investigation into finding the culprit of this manipulation. A GoFundMe was set up for her with the aim to raise $25,000 but stalled at $1,731.
Laura Jackson, who set up the page, begged people to contribute, saying in December, “The time is drawing near to send funds to Ms. June. Please share or consider donation as the case will go before the courts early 2022.”
Ten months later, with no real movement in the case, Walker was still afraid of becoming homeless and losing the home for which she had prayed.
This week, her prayers were answered.
Boccafe, who bought the house in 2021, for $25,000, filed an agreement in Detroit’s 36th District housing court, pledging to upsell the house to Walker for $45,000, earning them a $20,000 profit.
Walker will not have to come out of her pocket for this, as the mortgage will be paid in total by an anonymous donor from Texas who used to live in Detroit and learned about her misfortune on the news. Provided the deal goes through, she will have the deed to her house by June 30.
Walker says she is “elated.”
“Hopefully this will open doors or help other people who are going through this or keep them from going through something like this,” she said.
The agreement will require Walker to pay $7,000 in back rent, which Walker’s attorney said will come from a federal COVID-19 assistance pool. Boccafe will have to step in and make some needed repairs to the home.
Randy LeVasseur, the lawyer for Boccafe, said, “We had a lot of people who were all trying to find a win-win situation. We found one, and we’re happy to move forward.”