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Why you always want a lawyer when buying real estate


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#1 Carey

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 11:16 AM

Two good friends pointed out a recent Por Esto article to me which is a case in point for employing the Buyer Beware rule big time when shopping for real estate here. You want your own lawyer!

According to the article a US citizen by the name of Walter Edward Macpeek who owned a real estate company called Cozumel Properties was arrested by local police and thrown in the clinker for trying to pass bad checks and assaulting a police officer. He was also using the name Tony Gentille and, apparently, he's also wanted for fraud back in Ohio.

As any long-timer here can tell you, this little pirate island has a tendency to attract a fair number of unsavory expats, people who come here because they are persona non gratis back home but can get away with more sometimes down here.

So just because someone is from Missouri or Minneapolis and seems like a real nice person, it they're trying to sell you something, keep the ole radar up and get a lawyer to look at everything.

This is not in anyway to suggest that more than a quite small percentage of ex pat biz people are crooks. Just a warning to be a little careful about who you trust. I don't think that a real estate license is even required to sell here, just to give you an example.

The website look perfectly reputable aside from the domanin name mispelling the word properties as propertys. Just shows to go. www.cozumelpropertys.com
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#2 Coz2wonder

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 12:43 PM

http://www.poresto.n...&idTitulo=34012

If you click on the picture, you will see the business cards, and what this guy was doing.

This gives a black eye to every ligit agent working here.

Cover your ASSets...protect yourself first. Buyers, and Sellers.
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#3 Carey

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 05:19 PM

I've heard from another friend, a very reliable source, that this clown is being charged with 21 counts of fraud for taking people's money for escrow and diverting it. So he cheated at least 21 people in real estate deals.

If you are considering buying real estate here, this shouldn't stop you. It's just a head's up to be cautious and use common sense. If alarm bells are going off on any level, then walk. And, as mentioned before, get a reputable local lawyer in your camp from the get-go.
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#4 sailsgal

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 08:47 AM

Heard from a very reliable ex cop who has connections with Ohio police...
This guy Walter Edward McPeek aka Tony Gentile has warrants for fraud, mail theft, extortion and some other things in Columbus Ohio. He bought Cozumel Property's real estate business last year. He was not a licenced realtor, just acted as a "broker" and funds were given to him by the agents working for him. Obviously these funds have been used for other things and not put into trust accounts as they should be. There are several charges against him here in Cozumel and the USA may extradite him back there when Mexico is finished with him. Rent on the office was unpaid for the past 3 months, rent on his condo up north is overdue by 4 months, vehicle repossessed for non-payment. The list goes on and on. He was robbing Peter to pay Paul and the funds dried up eventually and he got caught. Hitting a police officer when confronted with some of these charges won't get you out too fast.
Sorry to hear that people who thought they had a legal contract to purchase/sell homes have now been screwed by this guy. It puts a bad image on Cozumel with this one bad apple.
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#5 Coz2wonder

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 10:04 AM

What a bunch of evil...

link to the YouTube video of his arrest and police statements.


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#6 nauticab

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 11:03 PM

it was my friend who filed the complaint that DAY and i think it was her house that he referred to in the interview. took her for about $60k usd. some loan situation. he was very very clever, very very sly and worked her and her hubby against eachother.
hopefully they will get some of their money back. schmuck.
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#7 Richard W

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 12:44 PM

I meet this fellow in a Bar at a Restaurant on Cozumel in Nov 2009.. Funny thing is after he left I laughed with the bartender about how "slick" this fellow seemed to me to be..
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#8 Coz2wonder

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 12:49 PM

very little goes on here without somebody finding something out. Your instincts where correct.

I would see this guy, and another sales guy TROLLING for clients where the foreigners will congregate.

I am sure there is a lot more to this story...
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#9 Coz2wonder

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Posted 05 August 2010 - 11:45 AM

Because of the NAFTA any assets that where gained fraudulently in one country, and be subject to seizure in another.

At this point, who cares if he was from Mars...find out what YOU need to do to protect, and recover hard earned funds.

If you are not familar with calling Mexico, here is how you dial cell, or landlines.


001-52-1-plus number for cell
001-52-plus number for land line
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#10 Coz2wonder

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Posted 05 August 2010 - 03:12 PM

okay, how is that information reinvent to the case against Walter MacPeek?

How would your information help a fraud case here in Cozumel, and Ohio?

Do you, or can you prove that this person whom you divulged is in colution with, in control of, or has access, or received fraudulent funds from Cozumel Properties, or the Walter McPeek?

This gets stranger, and stranger as the days pass.

Who is Charlotte?
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#11 Richard W

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Posted 05 August 2010 - 08:02 PM

Attitude ? Not really. I read , what was available on him. I have owned rental properties for almost 30 years and when people are behind on the rent and they have a car repo'd, they aren't sitting on piles of cash.. No Doubt this guy has some cash squirreled away somewhere though.. He owes a LOT...... of people, and If, what I read and hear is correct? Many have, well lets say some Special strings they can PULL. Those folks? Are On The Island Right Now..
I have no doubt they are already in possession of leans / demands etc.
So attitude? No its how you choose to read it..
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#12 sailsgal

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 09:25 AM

Charlotte Gentile is supposed to be Tony's aka Walter McPeek's wife...we went diving with her in the early part of the year...a Nice lady, but vague in some ways about Tony and what she was doing in Arizona and in Florida on business trips. He told us that she/he were buying foreclosed houses in various US states to reno and resell?
Are they legally married? does she have other names as well? There are so many lies going around so not sure of the real truth...I am sorry if your mother Charlotte got caught up in this Tony deal...he is a con artist and was able to talk his way in and around many situations and convince people that he had some good deals and ideas...
He was playing the Rob Peter to pay Paul deal and finally got caught....I hope they keep him in jail here for a long time, but that won't get honest people their money back.
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#13 themagicofdesign

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 12:04 PM

For everyone in Cozumel, remember this is an active legal investigation and there are legitimate victims here. Please do not speculate or discuss this case on this board for everyone to read as this may only damage the open investigation. A friends of mine who is a witness has asked that if anyone has any valuable, legitimate information or a complaint against Tony Gentile aka Walter McPeek or Charlotte Gentile, contact the victims' attorney, Dora Uribe.
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#14 themagicofdesign

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 01:00 PM

Abogada ... Lic. Dora Uribe's phone number is 987 101 5832
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#15 Coz2wonder

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 01:28 PM

well, you know...I think the least said the better at this point.

I/We don't know the facts, or what is going on.

I/we should stay FAR away from this.
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#16 Richard W

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 04:20 PM

Magic: You've lost me...This is all in the papers with only a few exceptions from two posters. Those Few Exceptions by those two posters...
Well, I dont know either of those two posters and they seem rather new...
One is talking about [possible issues state side NOB] and the other .....is like watching a chameleon, I honestly cannot figure who is who.. not in my guts anyway..
But it seems to me since a recent Land Acquisition Dispute people are acting and talking like this is Singapore or George Orwell's 1984..
If thats the case its time to come home folks ... your all in danger just being there.
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#17 themagicofdesign

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 05:24 PM

This is one of the safest places on this planet. I am not worried about our safety in Cozumel. I am only asking for us foreignors to let the Mexican police do their job. And since the victims that we know of are represented by Dora Uribe, contact her if you have any additional information. If a victim has another lawyer that is great too, but they should know that Dora has been working dilligently on this. This kind of thing happens everywhere, look at Bernie Madoff. And us speculating about what little we know is really not doing anybody any service. Cozumel is still a wonderful place.
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#18 Charles

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Posted 07 August 2010 - 09:38 PM

Dora Uribe is a long time, competent and respected attorney. She used to be really into environmental issues and handled a number of sensitive cases in the early and mid 1990s. I think her progress in this case so far speaks for her achievement and effectiveness.
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#19 Cozumel Diver

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 10:15 AM

This is one of the safest places on this planet. I am not worried about our safety in Cozumel. I am only asking for us foreignors to let the Mexican police do their job. And since the victims that we know of are represented by Dora Uribe, contact her if you have any additional information. If a victim has another lawyer that is great too, but they should know that Dora has been working dilligently on this. This kind of thing happens everywhere, look at Bernie Madoff. And us speculating about what little we know is really not doing anybody any service. Cozumel is still a wonderful place.

I love this post from TheMagicOfDesign. I had the pleasure of reading the thriller book about Bernie Madoff "No One Would Listen" on my last extended vacation in Cozumel. I agree Cozumel is the safest place on the planet, and I think it is a paradise on earth. But just like the first paradise there is always a SNAKE and a forbidden APPLE-TREE, and we all have tasted the apple, and now we know good from evil. So yes go in with eyes wide open, Dora is a wonderful attorney and she is helping many of my friends on the island get untangled from their real estate deals. Do your internet searches on "Cozumel Fraud" with the name establishment you are preparing to deal with. While you can't believe everything you read on the Internet... if there are complaints or hint of customer dissatisfaction you should heed the warnings and do some more investigations by asking the locals. Otherwise if a business is honest and keeps their nose clean, then you should only see praises.
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#20 Coz2wonder

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 12:24 PM

any updates on this case? Is Cozumel Properties still open?

I drove by, all doors where closed, and they had a few of their listings still on the window, and I could still see furniture inside...

Just hope there is some justice for the folks who got sucker punched by this outfit.
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The most important thing in life is not knowing everything, it's having the phone number of somebody who does!

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