The real estate license of a Central Indiana real estate salesperson and business owner has been suspended, but the suspension could only be temporary. Now, one of his alleged victims spoke to Fox59 about her experience in hopes of warning others.
“He told me to just come to his office and fill out an application, that it wouldn’t be a problem, that he could put me in a home,” said Bille Rackemann.
However, Rackemann said all David Garden, owner of Garden Homes Realty and Star Homes, Inc., did was take her money.
She said she paid first month’s rent for a home on Alabama Street, but when moving day came, he told her the house wasn’t ready.
“I actually went by (and saw) the people and stuff still in there,” Rackemann said.
She said he continued to make excuses about why the home wasn’t ready and why she couldn’t move in. Rackemann said she doesn’t think Garden ever intended to rent the home to her. When she asked for a refund on the rent, she said she was told they’d already cashed the check.
“He likes to use bible terms and Christianity a lot to try to pull people in to make himself sound God-like, so people think he’s an honest man and they want to do business with him and he’s the complete opposite,” Rackemann said.
That’s one of dozens of complaints about David Garden and his businesses.
The Indiana Attorney General’s Office has been investigating Garden for about a year.
Deputy Attorney General, Gabrielle Owens said their petition for emergency license suspension involved 30 counts with complaints, ranging from earnest money issues to allegations of him attempting to commit mortgage fraud.
“We also had allegations regarding abuse of the bankruptcy system and having folks file for bankruptcy in order to abuse the automatic stay provisions of the bankruptcy process to forestall the foreclosure,” Owens said.
Many victims claim they’re out thousands of dollars. But why did it take the Attorney General’s Office so long?
Owens said it had to do with the vast number of complaints and proving the facts.
“We wanted to make sure that we investigated them all thoroughly so that when we brought the action that we had a complete picture of the variety and volume of the consumers that we feel he has victimized,” Owens said.
Fox59 reached out to Garden at his home and his office, but he never responded to requests for an interview.
The most severe punishment would be Garden would have his real estate license revoked and a $1,000 per count fine, totaling $30,000. He could also have to pay everyone back.
“We will be seeking restitution for the harmed consumers. That could then be part of the board’s order and they could prescribe a time period by which he had to pay that money,” Owens said.
“I’d like my money back, but ultimately I don’t want to see him do this to anyone else,” Rackemann said.
She said she wants his businesses shut down.
“If he doesn’t have this scam to go on anymore, how is he going to survive? He might have to get a regular job and he might have to see what it was like to not just be able to take people’s money and live off of it,” Rackemann said.
Garden’s fate will likely be decided at the Indiana Real Estate Board meeting March 8, Owens said.
If you feel you’ve been taken advantage of by David Garden, Garden Realty or Star Homes, Inc., you should file a complaint right away. You can file a complaint online.