Real estate broker faces emergency suspension following complaints

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INDIANAPOLIS – An Indianapolis real estate broker faces an emergency suspension following a series of complaints, including one from the office of Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.

The office filed the original complaint against David Garden in August with the Indiana Real Estate Commission. Since then, the office has received more than a dozen complaints involving deceptive practices and mismanaged money involving Garden.

The board will consider an emergency suspension during its meeting on Jan. 23.

According to the Attorney General’s Office, customers accused Garden of taking their money without giving promised benefits and refusing to refund it. Officials said the complaints show a pattern of behavior including conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud, failure to remit earnest money and license renewal fraud.

In one case, a customer said he paid $1,000 in earnest money to Garden Home Realty to place a bid on a $23,000 HUD property in Indianapolis. The customer later discovered that HUD requires only $500 in earnest money. The buyer paid a separate firm the $500 and placed a bid on the property—which he won. The buyer never received his original money back from Garden.

In a separate case, another customer paid $1,000 and made an offer to buy a commercial site from Garden. The customer’s offer wasn’t accepted—but Garden kept the money.

In another complaint, an Indianapolis couple signed a lease and paid a $1,000 security deposit on a rental company owned by Garden. The renters were assured the home would be remodeled and in “showroom” condition when they moved in. Instead, they claimed the property had a cockroach infestation and smelled like “dog urine and feces.” The couple decided not to rent the property—and never got their money back.

The filing from the attorney general also said Garden renewed his real estate broker’s license in 2009 without acknowledging that criminal charges were pending. In 2011, he renewed his license without disclosing that he’d pleaded guilty to Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) with a prior OWI. In both cases, Garden replied “no” when asked if he’d been convicted or pleaded guilty of breaking a law or if charges were pending.

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